Leading GCSE and A-level exam board launches first vocational qualifications

Tuesday 18 Nov 2014

A suite of brand new vocational qualifications designed with the help of major employers including Microsoft and Siemens, has been unveiled today by leading exam board and education charity AQA.

Technical levels are new qualifications recently introduced by the Government to provide a high quality alternative to A-levels. They are the first vocational qualifications produced by AQA, which is best known as an academic exam board.

Andrew Hall, Chief Executive of AQA, said: "We had been thinking about bringing our expertise in assessment to the vocational sphere for some time and asked employers what young people needed to be more work ready. They told us they wanted students who not only had the knowledge to do the job, but also the skills that prepare them for the workplace.

"That's why our new Tech-levels cover transferable skills like team-working, problem-solving, communication and research.

"We've worked with professional bodies and employers from the very start, so each qualification has been carefully designed to make sure that it prepares students to work, train or study further in that specific occupation. This input has enabled us to strike the right balance between examinations and other forms of assessment and ensure our Tech-levels are highly credible and valued by employers."

Brenda Yearsley, School and Education Development Manager at Siemens, said: "We believe that this qualification will provide learners with the specialist knowledge and competencies required to progress to higher education, apprenticeships or the workplace with the sector.

"Because the performance outcomes are mapped to relevant national occupational standards and have been developed in collaboration with employers and professional bodies, it means that the knowledge and competencies developed are relevant, transferable and up-to-date."

AQA has developed more technical levels than any other awarding body and the sectors and vocations covered are:

  • Business Marketing
  • Business Management
  • Design Engineering
  • Mechatronics Engineering
  • Power Engineering
  • IT Programming
  • IT Networking
  • IT User Support

Andrew Hall continued: "As one of the country's leading exam boards we are able to use our knowledge and experience in delivering more than 8 million GCSE and A-level scripts each year to deliver quality, engaging and relevant qualifications that students will enjoy and employers can trust."

AQA's new qualifications will be available from September 2015 and are being showcased at the Association of Colleges Annual Conference and Exhibition at the ICC in Birmingham (18-20 November).