TechBac FAQs

Below are the answers to some of the most frequent questions we’ve been asked about City & Guilds TechBac.

About City Guilds TechBac

What is City & Guilds TechBac?

City & Guilds TechBac is a new practical, skills-based course for 14-19 year olds. It combines a Technical Qualification with a Workplace Skills programme.

Studying a TechBac develops a learner’s confidence and readiness for work, which increases their employability.

What are City & Guilds Technical Qualifications?

Our new Technical Qualifications for 14-19 year olds deliver up-to-date and relevant skills in a specific industry sector.

Our Technical Qualifications have been designed for progression; supporting learners onto the next step, whether that’s to university, onto an apprenticeship or straight into a job.

They can be combined with City & Guilds Workplace Skills to form City & Guilds TechBac. Alternatively, they can be delivered as stand-alone qualifications or alongside GCSEs or A Levels.

How does City & Guilds TechBac differ from existing vocational provision?

City & Guilds TechBac is distinct from other vocational options (such as BTEC) in that it includes not just a Technical Qualification, but our Workplace Skills programme.

What is a TechBac equivalent to?

Our Technical Qualifications, which sit at the heart of TechBac, are comparable to academic alternatives in terms of rigour and quality.

  • Key Stage 4 (14-16) Level 2 Technical Award is equivalent in size to one GCSE
  • Key Stage 5  (16-19) Level 3 Technical Qualifications vary in size, but are typically much larger than an A Level. At Level 3, they carry UCAS points
  • Key Stage 5 Level 2 Technical Certificates are 360 or 450 GLH. These qualifications will be reported in the new headline measures from 2017

Is TechBac the same as the Government’s Technical Baccalaureate?

No. The Government’s Technical Baccalaureate (TechBacc) is only a performance measure. This measure includes an approved Level 3 Tech Level qualification, a Level 3 Maths qualification and an extended project. When delivered alongside Level 3 Maths, such as A Level Maths or City & Guilds Core Maths, City & Guilds TechBac can meet the requirements of this measure.

However, City & Guilds TechBac also provides learners with a broader programme through Workplace Skills.

Do learners need to complete English and Maths with TechBac?

  • At Key Stage 5, if a learner hasn’t yet achieved English and/or Maths at GCSE C or above, then they’ll have to continue studying towards this. This is not part of the City & Guilds TechBac however, is part of a learners programme of study.
  • Learners who achieved a grade D must be enrolled on a GCSE
  • Learners who received grade E or below, may study Functional Skills or ESOL to meet this requirement

Is employer involvement required?

At Key Stage 5, Level 2 and 3, it is a DfE requirement that employer involvement is included in the design and delivery/assessment of the qualification. More information can be found here.

Can learners resit their Technical Qualification assessment if they have missed it?

Under some circumstances, this is possible. Special considerations and access to assessment are explained in our updated City & Guilds Centre Manual and Our Quality Assurance Requirements 

Special considerations are managed by the Regulatory Policy & Audit team who will apply the guidance in the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) document Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments


What certification does a learner get?

Successful learners will receive:

  • A Technical Qualification certificate outlining the units/modules achieved and the overall grade
  • A Project Qualification certificate (as part of the OFQUAL rules) outlining what they’ve achieved
  • If a learner completes the full TechBac, they receive a Statement of Achievement. This covers the:
      • Technical Qualification grade
      • Project Qualification grade
      • 7 Workplace Skills elements
      • Work placement (includes hours worked)


Do learners taking a TechBac have to register separately on the Technical Qualification to Workplace Skills?

Yes. A learner will need to register separately for:

  • Workplace Skills (includes registration onto the Project Qualification)
  • Technical Qualification


How long does a learner have to achieve a TechBac?

There is no time limit on the time it takes to achieve a TechBac, however it's expected to last the duration of the learner’s study – either one or two years.

Does TechBac meet Ofsted requirements?

Yes. You can download our mapping document which shows how TechBac works alongside the requirements of the new Common Inspection Framework (CIF)


Does TechBac meet the FELTAG digital agenda?

Yes. You can download our mapping document which shows how TechBac works alongside the requirements of FELTAG. 


Is TechBac available outside England?

At present TechBac is only available in England.

We’re currently exploring options to make it available to other markets.

Quality assurance

What is the quality assurance process?

For our Technical Qualifications

The quality assurance process is rigorous, and follows the following processes:

  • At Key Stage 4 (14-16) and Key Stage 5 (16+) External Quality Assurance is required at approval stage
  • At Key Stage 5, External Quality Assurance additionally includes a review of the centre’s plans for employer involvement at approval and also as part of a sampling exercise towards the end of the Technical Qualification delivery

Our Technical Qualifications contain assessments, which follow these quality assurance processes:

  • The practical, synoptic end assignment is externally moderated
  • The end examination is externally marked
  • Optional units are externally moderated


For Workplace Skills

Workplace Skills contain components, which follow these quality assurance processes:

  • The Project Qualification is externally moderated
  • MySkills is quality assured through sampling

City & Guilds Workplace Skills

What are Workplace Skills and Skills Zone?

City & Guilds Workplace Skills is a study programme for 14-19 year olds, which develops the ‘soft skills’ that employers need. Workplace Skills is a component of City & Guilds TechBac. As such, it complements all our Technical Qualifications, regardless of their occupational sector.

  • Skills Zone is the gateway to workplace skills, which develops the ‘Soft-Skills’ – (attitudes and behaviours) - of TechBac alongside the Technical Qualification. Workplace Skills recognises 24 Skills (These are: Self-Analysis, Self-Motivation, Independent Learning, Using Feedback, Managing Stress, Using Online Resources, Communicating Digitally, Using Digital Technology, Commercial Awareness, Understanding Customers, Social Responsibility, Negotiate & Persuade, Impact & Audience, Listen & Understand, Planning for Success, Adapting to Change, Decision Making, Team Working, Professionalism, Resilience, Financial Awareness, Problem Analysis, Designing Solutions, Generate Pitch Ideas) through Sets of different Experiences      
  • My Skills - A series of rich social e-learning resources, mapped to the 7 core employability skills of City & Guilds Workplace Skills
  • My Team Challenge - This is a nationally set competition which allows learners to work together on a task.
  • My Project Qualification - The project qualification available at level 2 and level 3 is highly  regarded by universities and schools for promoting independent learning
  • My Work Experience - access to e-learning to help tutors and learners prepare and get the most from their placement, as well as an interactive logbook to help them track and review what they have learnt.

The outcomes of Workplace Skills is recognition through Digital Credentials in 7 Skills Areas

1) Self-development
2) Communication
3) Workplace Literacy
4) Innovation
5) Digital Skills
6) Enterprise
7) Delivering Results, which are learner owned for life through Digital Credentials and portability through My CV


What levels are available for Workplace Skills?

The Project Qualification component of Workplace Skills is available at Level 2 (Higher Project) and Level 3 (Extended Project).

The My Skills experience within Workplace Skills is available at two levels: Level 2 (Work Ready) and Level 3 (Expert).


How many guided learning hours (GLH) are required for Workplace Skills?

The amount of guided learning hours (GLH) will vary from centre to centre, however we will provide guidance on the website.

When planning study programmes, providers should consider that Skills Zone is an intuitive platform which can be used to tailor delivery to learners’ abilities and needs, and doesn’t need to be carried out face-to-face in a classroom setting. The Skills Zone platform lends itself to a “flipped learning” approach and provides centres with the opportunity to embrace many of the FELTAG recommendations approaches to blended learning.

How is Skills Zone quality assured and standardised?

Each centre will receive training, but it is recommended that a centre has a ‘super user’ who can carry out standardisation across the centre. As part of the quality assurance process, sampling will be undertaken, looking at the awarding of digital credentials/open badges. Any issues will be raised with the centre directly. 


Will the tutor receive an alert if an inappropriate comment is reported on Skills Zone?

Yes. A learner can flag an inappropriate comment through the portal to the tutor, who can remove anything they deem to be inappropriate. 


Do learners have to register on Skills Zone individually?

Yes. Learners will receive activation emails from their tutor to begin the login process. 


How long do learners have to complete their Skills Zone learning?

There is no specific time limit, however learners are expected to complete this over the duration of their study.


If learners complete Skills Zone learning but not the Technical Qualification or the rest of Workplace Skills, will they still get a certificate?

The Record of Achievement is only awarded for completion of the full TechBac. Learners who complete the Skills Zone content only will still be able to showcase this through their online CV.

Project Qualification

What are the benefits of the Project Qualification for learners?

The Project Qualification needs to be completed as part of City & Guilds TechBac.

It’s highly regarded by universities and recognised for promoting independent study. The Extended Project (Level 3) carries UCAS points to support progression to higher education and is part of the Government’s Technical Baccalaureate measure.


What happens if I miss the deadline for submitting learners’ marks and evidence for the Higher Project and Extended Project qualifications?

If the deadline for the submission of learners’ marks and evidence is missed, City & Guilds cannot guarantee that the final grades will be issued to centres by the published dates and are likely to be delayed. This will impact on Extended Project learners who have conditional offers from universities.

UCAS points

Do Technical Qualifications carry UCAS points?

All of our Level 3 Technical Qualifications and the Level 3 Extended Project carry UCAS points to enable progression to university.*

The Level 3 Core Maths, which can be delivered alongside City & Guilds TechBac, also carries UCAS points.

*Please note, the 450 GLH Technical Certificate at Level 3 does not yet carry UCAS points but we fully expect it to from May 2016.

Find out more about UCAS points and our Technical Qualifications

Moderation and assessment

What is moderation?

Moderation is a quality assurance process. It is carried out by a small number of moderators, who are trained to a national standard of marking. These moderators re-mark a sample of assessments from each centre. Their marks act as a benchmark to inform City & Guilds and centres whether the marking is in line with the national standard.


How does the moderation process work?

Once the synoptic end assessment has been marked by the centre, a moderator will look at all these marks and select a sample. This sample is then re-marked by the moderator. There are three possibilities:

  • If the centre’s marks for the sample are within a certain tolerance of the moderator’s marks, then the marks for all the learners at the centre are accepted
  • If the centre’s marking is more severe or lenient, the marks are adjusted to bring them into alignment with the national standard
  • If the centre does not match the national standard, but there is not a clear, fair adjustment that can be made, a re-mark of the whole sample may be required

Once moderation is completed, the boundary marks for Pass, Merit and Distinction are set.


How is moderation used within TechBac?

Moderation is used to quality-assure different assessments within the TechBac: the Project Qualification, and the practical end assessment within the Technical Qualification.


Does verification play a part in TechBac?

Certain elements of the qualification will not be quality-assured by moderation, so will still be subject to verification, such as the employer involvement or assessment.

This verification will take place remotely.


What are the advantages of moderation over verification?

With this type of internally-marked assessment there will always be variation between centres’ interpretations of the standards. Controlling this across large numbers of centre-based markers is impractical. Moderation is a mechanism to centrally adjust for this variation. Controlling the overall standard amongst a small group of moderators is more manageable and results in fairer, more consistent and reliable results nationally.


When does moderation take place?

Moderation takes place after the deadline for the submission of marks and evidence to City & Guilds. The precise timescales for submission of evidence during 2016/17 will be published later in the year. We envisage the deadline for the practical end assessment will be mid to end May and the deadline for the Project and Optional unit assessments will be slightly later in Mid-June.


What is the size of the sample re-marked by the moderator?

The sample size will depend on the amount of learners at the centre. With small amounts, the moderator may review the marks and evidence for all the learners; for larger groups it will be between 10 and 20 candidates.


How will the marks and end assessment evidence be sent to the moderator?

The learner evidence will be prepared and gathered by the learners and tutors and then marked within the centre. For speed and ease of submission we would recommend that evidence is collected and then submitted to City & Guilds digitally.  

To incorporate feedback from our existing centres and facilitate this activity for centres we are currently carrying out improvements to how we manage this digital submission process - further details will be provided via our website in September.

If centres prefer, there will also be the opportunity to submit marks and evidence by post to City & Guilds.


What training will be provided for the moderation process?

There will be training and guidance for centres on how to conduct the practical end assessment and mark and submit evidence for moderation, along with support before and during the submission process.

We are currently reviewing existing processes to ensure this activity is as efficient and easy as possible for centres - associated guidance will be provided once the review is completed


Will assessment evidence for all learners need to be submitted to City & Guilds?

For small cohorts we will need to see the evidence of all learners.

For large cohorts there will be the option to submit only the sample of evidence required for moderation. However, in these cases, the centre may be required to provide additional assessment evidence at subsequent stages. 


How can the evidence for the practical tasks within the end assessment be collected and submitted to the moderator digitally?

For most assignments, the evidence will be able to be captured in a form suitable for digital submission such as word, PDF, photographs, video clips. Guidance on the type of assessment evidence is contained within the assessment pack.

Where observation of a performance is carried out, the tutor will be expected to make notes that adequately inform the marking decisions, using the practical observation form. This may also be supported with other forms of recording (for example photographic, audio, video, expert witness testimony) that will provide backing for their notes. Again this evidence can be collected in a digital format.

Where there is a significant practical element, the moderator may need to visit the centre and will work directly with the centre to establish the best approach.


What are the objectives of a moderation visit?

The objectives of the moderation visit are to:

  • Ensure that end assessment evidence gathered by the tutor is sufficient, valid and reliable enough to support any subsequent marking or moderation of the end assessments
  • Allow the independent collection of evidence. This provides a benchmark which the tutor-produced evidence can be compared to, especially where photographic and video evidence cannot provide valid or complete backing to support tutor evidence


When will centres be able to access end assessments?

Centres will be able to access end assessments a few weeks before the assessment is due to take place. However, centres will be provided with an overview of the context and resource guidelines in advance for planning purposes.


Is it possible to re-sit the synoptic assessment?

There is currently no formal opportunity to re-sit the practical end assessment within the same academic year. However, it is expected that where a candidate has underperformed and is unhappy with a specific piece of work for their assessment they may choose to restart and rectify the situation during their normal allocated assessment time, before it gets to the stage of it being handed in for final marking by the tutor.

The impact of reworking evidence will vary depending on the nature of the task and evidence being produced. A rework at the design stage may have minimal impact. However reworking at the production stage is likely to have a much bigger impact and this should be taken into account when the tutor marks the learner’s work.


What happens if a candidate's performance has been affected by adverse circumstances?

Where a candidate’s performance is materially affected by adverse circumstances, please contact City & Guilds at for additional guidance.


Is there an opportunity to re-sit the external exam?

There are currently two windows for sitting the external exams. These dates are available to centres to use as exam and re-sit opportunities.

The 2017 exam calendar is on our website and can be found here .

The use of this provision will be monitored by City & Guilds.


Will moderators answer queries from centres?

A moderator will be assigned to each centre and will be able to answer questions and provide support on the moderation and marking process, as well as the delivery of the practical end assessment.

General support throughout the moderation process will also be provided by the Quality teams and Customer Services as required.


What happens if the moderator finds evidence of malpractice?

If the moderator finds evidence of malpractice they will escalate initially to their principal moderator and the Quality team. This will then be forwarded to our Investigation & Compliance team for further investigation.


Can centres appeal a result? If so, how?

Yes. However, a review of moderation can’t be requested for the following:

  • If the original marks were accepted without change
  • For an individual candidate
  • For candidate work that was not in the original sample

Read more about how to appeal   

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T: 01924 206709
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T:  0844 543 0033
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