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Technical Qualifications FAQs

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

About City Guilds Technical Qualifications

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.

What is a City & Guilds Technical Qualification 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

What certification does a learner get?

Successful learners will receive:

  • A Technical Qualification certificate outlining the units/modules achieved and the overall grade

Quality assurance

What is the quality assurance process?

For our Technical Qualifications

Technical Qualifications are subject to quality assurance monitoring in the following ways:

  • External moderation of practical synoptic assessment
  • External quality assurance of other centre assessed components, e.g. optional units 
  • External marking of externally set examinations
  • External sampling of employer involvement (at Key Stage 5 only)

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

  • At Key Stage 4 (14-16) and Key Stage 5 (16+), all centres wishing to offer the qualifications will receive a centre visit from one of our EQAs as part of the qualification approval process
  • At Key Stage 5, qualification approval will also include a review of the centre’s plans for employer involvement at approval. Moderation will also involve a sampling exercise of employer involvement, towards the end of the Technical Qualification delivery.

UCAS points

Do Technical Qualifications carry UCAS points?

All of our Level 3 Technical Qualifications carry UCAS points to provide opportunities for progression to university.

The Level 3 Core Maths, and the Level 3 Extended Project which can be delivered alongside a City & Guilds Technical Qualification, also carry UCAS points

Find out more about UCAS points and our Technical Qualifications.

Moderation process

What is moderation?

Moderation is a quality assurance process where City & Guilds review centre marking to ensure that it is consistent and meets agreed standards. It is carried out by 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 practical synoptic assessment has been marked by the centre, the centre will submit the marks and a sample of work to the Moderation Portal. This sample is checked then re-marked by the moderator. There are three possibilities:

  • If the centre’s marks for the sample are within 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 align them 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 through the awarding process.

When will the moderator make contact with my centre?

First, the Moderation Support team will contact the centre to determine some key information about the centre’s delivery of the synoptic practical assessment. Then, the moderator can be allocated to the centre.

Moderator details will be provided to the centre by the Moderation Support team.

Once the allocation is confirmed the moderator will contact the centre to arrange next steps, for example a centre visit.

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 marks and evidence for the synoptic assessments, as well as the examination dates, are detailed in the City & Guilds Technicals Examination Timetable for 2017

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

The sample size will depend on the number of learners at the centre. With small cohorts, the moderator may review the marks and evidence for all the learners; for larger groups it will be between 10 and 20 candidates. For more information, please see the Technical Qualifications – Guide to Marking & Moderation document.

How will the marks and 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. The marks and a sample of evidence is then submitted to City & Guilds digitally via the Moderation Portal. If centres are unable to submit work digitally they must contact City & Guilds to discuss alternative options. For more information, please see the Technical Qualifications – Guide to Marking & Moderation document.

When will the moderation platform be available?

Access to the Moderation Portal will be provided to centres from mid-March. This is in good time to allow the centre to submit learner results and samples of evidence by the May and June deadlines.

Moderation verification

Does external verification play a part with Technical Qualifications?

Certain elements of the Technical Qualification will not be moderated, so will still be subject to an external quality review, such as the employer involvement in the delivery or assessment, or the optional units. This 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 with fairer results, and more consistent and reliable results nationally.

Moderation platform

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:

  • On-going support will be provided by the Moderation Support Team. They can be contacted on the following details Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm:


01924 206 719

  • A step by step guide to the process is provided in the Technical Qualifications – Guide to Marking & Moderation.
  • Once the Moderation Portal is rolled out to centres in March webinar training and guidance documentation will be provided to centres
  • Additional support materials such as standardisation materials and guidance on forms will be available on the website from mid-February.

How do I use the moderation platform?

The platform has been designed to simplify the submission of results and evidence for moderation and external quality assurance. Training and support will be provided to centres once the platform is rolled out in mid-March.

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 a representative sample of evidence will be required for moderation.  Centres may also be required to submit additional learner evidence in some instances, which will be communicated by the moderator. For more information, please see the Technical Qualifications – Guide to Marking & Moderation document.

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

For assignments, the evidence will be able to be captured in a form suitable for digital submission such as word, PDF, photographs, or 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. The tutor will need to ensure that these notes provide a clear description of the quality of a learner’s performance. The tutor notes may also be supported with other forms of recording (for example photographic, audio, expert witness testimony). However, rich media evidence should only be used where it can support and supplement the evidence provided by the tutor observations. All evidence will need to be submitted in a digital format.

Where there is a significant practical element, the moderator may need to visit the centre and the Moderation Support team and the moderator will work directly with the centre to set up the centre visit.

Is there any other evidence I need to collect for the qualifications?

All evidence requirements for the assessments is specified within the qualification assessment packs.

Moderation visits

What are the objectives of a moderation visit?

For certain qualifications ephemeral evidence plays a significant part in the assessment and evaluation of candidate performance. In these cases, the online moderation may be supported with a visit to the centre by the moderator. This will only be required in specified qualifications.

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 by the moderator. 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

For more information, please see the Technical Qualifications – Guide to Marking & Moderation document.

When will the moderation visit happen?

The moderation visit if applicable will be arranged with the centre from the end of February-early May.

The date that is shown on Walled Garden is the final date that marks and evidence must be submitted onto the moderation platform for moderation to take place. For synoptic assignment this date is 19 May. This is the date shown on Walled Garden and the one you will need to select.

Will the moderation visit take place when a centre is marking synoptic assignments?

The moderation visit will take place at some point during the practical section of the synoptic assessment. The date of the moderation visit will be arranged by the Moderation Support team who will contact centres from the middle of February to determine potential dates.

If I don’t have a moderation visit, how will the marks for the synoptic assessment be moderated?

The marks will be moderated on the basis of the assessment evidence specified in the assessment pack and submitted via the Moderation Portal.

Will moderators answer queries from centres?

Moderators will contact centres to request learner evidence samples and may answer questions related to the moderation process that they are working through with the centre. However, they will not provide general support.

General support throughout the moderation process will be provided by the Moderation Support team 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.

Employer Involvement

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 in our Employer Involvement guidance

How do I submit an employer involvement plan?

Employer Involvement evidence and outcomes for learners will be submitted for quality assurance by the moderator through the Moderation Portal.

What happens if centres miss the submission deadlines for results and evidence?

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. If a centre has any concern about meeting submission dates they need to contact the Moderation Support team.

Workplace Skills FAQs

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

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 four 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. Find out more details of the 2015/16 Team Challenge here.
  • 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 Placement Support- 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, an online CV tool.

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 Skills Zone 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.

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 programme of study for 14-19 year olds. It combines a Technical Qualification with our Workplace Skills programme.

Studying a TechBac gives learners relevant practical skills as well as developing confidence and readiness for work, which increases their employability.

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.

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

Do learners taking a TechBac have to register separately on the Technical Qualification and 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’s 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.

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Contact us


Education providers
Deliver City & Guilds TechBac

T: 01924 206709
E: Digitalsales@cityandguilds.com
F: Expression of interest form


Speak to your local centre or contact us

T:  0844 543 0033
F:  Enquiry form
W: Find an approved centre


Get involved with TechBac

E: 14-19recognition@cityandguilds.com

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