Tech-levels to gain same status as A-levels

New technical courses will be introduced for 16-19 year olds with the same status as A-levels, the Government has announced.

From 2014 ‘Tech-levels’ will take as long as A-levels to complete and must be endorsed by a professional association or five employers registered with Companies House. They will focus on practical training and aim to raise the status of vocational qualifications.

Applied General Qualifications will take the same time to complete as AS-levels and will focus on broader technical study. They will require backing from three universities to count in performance tables.

The changes follow a review by Prof Alison Wolf, who argued that schools were teaching qualifications that would not help students into work, simply because of their ranking in league tables.

The skills minister, Matthew Hancock, said: “High-quality rigorous vocational education is essential to future prosperity and the life chances of millions.

“Because technical education is so important, it is vital the qualifications young people take are stretching, high-quality and support their aspirations. These reforms are unashamedly aspirational and will ensure Tech-levels help people into apprenticeships and jobs.”

Neil Carberry, of the CBI: “The litmus test is that Tech-levels offer the gold-standard training that employers want while not being seen as second-class. Courses must have stretching subject knowledge, rigorous assessment, hard-nosed practical experience, and be a stepping stone to a great career.

“The new system must be very clear about which provision is deemed 'occupational' and which is to be 'applied general'.

“Perception is all with qualifications, so we must avoid a two-tier system, where one is seen as too narrow and the other as too broad. We want to see the more rigorous Tech-level brand extended to both.”

Labour's Tristram Hunt added: “It is right that pupils have a choice of taking new vocational courses, but Michael Gove needs to reassure parents that it will be a gold standard to sit alongside A-levels and not an afterthought.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

23/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Public Sector Executive is no different. Long before Covid-19 even became a thought in the back of our minds, the team at PS... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

public sector events

events calendar


August 2020

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

featured articles

View all News