Students at Gateshead College are the first in the country to complete one of AQA’s new Tech-level qualifications in a drive to support the local car manufacturing industry.
The students, who had been recruited by a global car manufacturer, studied AQA’s Level 3 Tech-Level IT: Programming qualification as part of a study programme at Gateshead College.
AQA launched its suite of Tech-levels in 2015. The qualifications are backed by industry and designed to address skills gaps in business, engineering, entertainment technology and IT.
AQA’s Tech-level qualifications are equivalent to A-level, and support the progression of 16- to 19-year-olds onto apprenticeships and higher education.
Dean O’Donoghue, AQA’s Sector Strategist for Technical and Vocational Qualifications, said:
"We created Tech-levels in response to schools and colleges wanting motivational qualifications for students, and employers wanting more work-ready young people.
"We worked closely with employers and professional bodies to develop our Tech-levels. The result is a suite of class-leading qualifications that are totally up-to-date, relevant and on a par with A-levels. We'll be setting young people up with the right knowledge and skills to hit the ground running."
John Deary, Curriculum Operations Manager at Gateshead College, said:
"We chose the AQA Level 3 Tech-Level IT: Programming qualification because of its great breadth of programming-based disciplines, and the fact that it had been developed with existing employers, professional bodies and key stakeholders from the IT sector.
"The extensive and detailed planning resources provided by AQA and their excellent support have enabled us, in conjunction with the employer, to adapt the assessments for the qualification's individual units to the students' specific vocational area."
On successful completion of Tech-levels, learners also receive a transferable skills certificate valued by employers and higher education. This recognises their attainment of the skills associated with the sector in communication, teamwork and problem solving.
AQA's Tech-levels are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will count towards performance tables from 2018.