Skills for Wales – Construction and building services engineering

New qualifications – first teaching September 2021

City & Guilds/EAL will be the sole provider of a new suite of fundable Construction and Building Services Engineering qualifications in Wales. Ready for first teaching from September 2021, these qualifications and apprenticeships will start to help simplify the complex landscape of more than 400 qualifications available in the sector.

Qualifications Wales is leading a process to streamline skills and raise standards through a review of the qualifications system across the construction and built environment sector. The Qualifications Wales Building the Future report identified the need to rationalise hundreds of qualifications into a simplified qualification system that had clear progression routes and met the needs of employers and the economy of Wales.

In laying these foundations for the future Qualifications Wales has jointly appointed City & Guilds and EAL in a collaboration to deliver a suite of five new vocational Construction and Building Service Engineering qualifications at Level 2 and 3, including foundation, progression and apprenticeship qualifications, featuring clear progression routes for learners through the qualifications on to both employment and further study.

In addition a GCSE will be developed by awarding body WJEC to go live in September 2021, while an AS and A Level qualification in construction and building services will be ready for first teaching in September 2022.

City & Guilds/EAL bring together the strength of two market leading awarding bodies in qualifications and skills development in the construction and built environment sector. We strongly believe in empowering people with opportunities for the future. Our aims during the development and implementation of this new suite of qualifications are to help people prepare for the world of work, develop in their job and progress on to their next job. We will help do this by:

  • supporting centres through the changes that will be required of them
  • driving up standards in the construction and built environment sectors in Wales
  • developing qualifications and assessments that meet employers needs by putting them at the heart of the development process
  • providing learners with clear progression routes so they understand their next potential learning and career steps
  • helping to achieve the ambition of empowering a bilingual nation

Look out for our new ‘Skills for Wales' website coming in Spring 2020.

Information for learners

Why are construction and building services qualifications in Wales changing?

Qualifications Wales' conducted a review of qualifications in the construction and built environment sector and published their findings in the Building the Future: Sector Review of the Qualification System in Construction and the Built Environment report. They found that a number of changes should be made to the system to simplify the landscape of qualifications making progression routes more clear, and in this fast-developing sector that the qualifications are aligned to what employers are looking for so learners can be prepared for the world of work.

When will these changes be made?

The five new vocational qualifications will be introduced from 1st September 2021. The GCSE will be introduced by WJEC for first teaching on 1st September 2021, as well as an AS and A Level from September 2022.

What happens if I have already begun study for a qualification in construction and/or building services?

If you are already studying for a qualification in construction or building services engineering before September 2021, you will not be affected by these changes. You will continue with your current study until the completion of the qualification. We will provide information to your centre to help you explore with them what progression opportunities may be available to you.

I already have a qualification in construction and/or building services engineering – will these qualifications still be recognised by employers on site?

If you already hold a qualification currently required for your role and your Skills Card is valid, this will still be recognised and accepted to work on-site in the UK.

We will be working closely with the skills card scheme organisations to ensure these new qualifications provide the right level of skill to be added to the required list of national qualifications for the appropriate skills card.

Will I be able to complete these qualifications in school, college and employment?

City & Guilds/EAL are developing qualifications at Level 2 and 3, and WJEC are developing a GCSE, AS and A’Level. These qualifications will provide you with a number of ways to build your knowledge, skills and competence to continue your learning, and work in the sector. There are routes suited to schools, colleges, employment as well as work-based learning.

Will the new qualifications enable me to progress to college and/or university?

Yes. Most of the qualifications offer a route to progress onto further study, while the apprenticeship qualification enables progression into a chosen trade in employment. The Level 2 progression qualification and Level 3 apprenticeship provide a range of pathways to choose from.

Will the new qualifications enable me to progress to and within employment?

Yes. The new vocational qualifications have been designed to prepare you more thoroughly for employment. The qualifications will be based on nationally recognised occupational standards and because of this you will be qualified to work across the UK. The introduction of the Foundation and Progression qualifications will give learners a broad knowledge, understanding and a firm grounding across the sector at Level 2, while the apprenticeship will result in occupational competence to access a skills card. We will be working with the sector card scheme organisations to align with the relevant card schemes.

Will I be able to take the new qualifications through the medium of Welsh?

Yes, all of the new qualifications will be available in English and through the medium of Welsh. Please ask your training provider, college or school about how they plan to deliver the qualifications through the medium of Welsh.

Where can I get further information?

In spring 2020 City & Guilds/EAL will provide a new ‘Skills for Wales’ website with regularly updated information, webinars and face to face events to help support the delivery of the new suite of qualifications. In the meantime Qualifications Wales, City & Guilds and EAL websites will provide information about the development of these qualifications.

Information for employers

Why are Construction and Building Service Engineering qualifications in Wales changing?

Qualifications Wales' review of qualifications in the construction and built environment sector found that a number of changes should be made to the qualifications to make sure that they meet the needs of both learners and employers in Wales.

The new qualifications will reduce complexity and raise the quality of the learning outcomes and experience. CITB, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association for Wales, the Federation for Master Builders, National Federation of Builders (NFB), Electrical Contractors Association (ECA), Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) and the Building Services Engineering Services Association (BESA) are fully supportive of this vision and are active partners in the development process.

When will these changes be made?

The new qualifications at Level 2 and Level 3 will be available for first teaching from 1st September 2021. The role of the Level 1 qualifications are currently being explored by Qualifications Wales.

How will these changes impact my organisation?

Your organisation may be affected in the following ways:

  • From 2021, the new qualifications will be available for public funding for 16-19 year olds and will be the only Level 2 and Level 3 Construction and Building Services Engineering qualifications available for public funding in Wales (with the exception of Level 1 provision and some specialist qualifications);
  • The subject content, structure and size of the new qualifications may differ from those currently available.

Will my employees who are already working towards a qualification be able to undertake these qualifications?

The new qualifications will be available to learners who register for study on, or after, 1 September 2021. Current qualifications will continue to be funded for registrations made up until September 2021 and there will be a transition period to allow learners who are already working towards a qualification to be able to complete their study. If your employee is already working towards a qualification, their learning will not be affected and they will continue their study until they complete their qualification.

If your organisation is interested in getting involved in the qualification development process please email qualdevelopment@cityandguilds.com.

Will learners doing these qualifications be ready to work in my organisation?

We are working with a wide range of sector representatives, and Qualifications Wales, to ensure that the qualifications contain relevant and up-to-date content to develop the knowledge, skills and competence needed within the construction and built environment workplace. Additionally, the introduction of the ‘Foundation’ and ‘Progression’ qualifications will ensure that all learners develop the key knowledge and understanding.

We are working with card scheme organisations to plan how these learners can be eligible for a Skills Card to allow them on site. Learners moving from the progression qualification onto the apprenticeship will allow them to put their knowledge and understanding into practice to build competency in the workplace.

Will staff need to retrain?

Existing qualifications will continue to be valued and recognised, but continuing professional development is important to ensure that workers stay up to date with their knowledge and skills development. Some upskilling of staff may be required in areas such as emerging technologies and the repair and maintenance of pre-1919 buildings.

Where can I get further information?

In spring 2020 City & Guilds/EAL will provide a new ‘Skills for Wales’ website with regularly updated information, webinars and face to face events to help support the delivery of the new suite of qualifications. Qualifications Wales, City & Guilds and EAL websites will provide information about the development of these qualifications. In the meantime use the form to sign up and receive information about these qualifications, including events and webinars from City & Guilds/EAL.

Information for centres / training providers

When will these changes be made?

The new qualifications will be available for first teaching from September 2021. Only learners who register for study on or after 1 September 2021 will take the new qualifications. The existing qualifications will remain in place until that date. Final learner registrations of the current Level 2 and Level 3 construction and building services engineering qualifications, used by centres for 16-19 year olds and apprentices, will take place in August 2021.

How will these changes affect my organisation?

The new vocational qualifications will be restricted approved qualifications and therefore will be only available from City & Guilds/EAL – they will feature on the Qualifications in Wales (QiW) database. This means that they will be the only version of these qualifications that will be eligible for public funding. From September 2021, they will feature in the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards Wales (SASW) frameworks.

Will I need to change the awarding body that I use?

The new qualifications are being developed by City & Guilds and EAL. If you are not currently using qualifications provided by either organisation and your centre would like to deliver these qualifications and/or apprenticeship, you will be required to change awarding body by 1st September 2021, by submitting a centre approval application form.

What other changes may impact my organisation?

Your organisation may be impacted in the following ways:

  • From September 2021, some Construction and Building Services Engineering qualifications currently being delivered in Wales may no longer be eligible for public funding. This primarily affects the qualifications currently funded for full-time 16-19 learners and the trade qualifications within the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards Wales (SASW) frameworks. The new Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications will be approved for funding as part of the apprenticeship frameworks.
  • From September 2021, the new suite of vocational Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications will be awarded by City & Guilds or EAL and will be funded for 16 to 19 year olds, and apprentices. The GCSE, AS and A Level will be awarded by WJEC. Level 1 qualifications are currently under review by Qualification Wales.
  • The subject content, structure and size of the new vocational qualifications will differ from the ones you currently use which is likely to require some of your centre delivery staff to upskill
  • External verification and the balance between internal and external assessment may change to reduce the burden of admin and volume of assessments on centres in comparison to the existing qualifications. For example, the volume and frequency of summative assessment will lessen and a more holistic and synoptic approach will be taken. This will effect assessment methods, particularly for the apprenticeship. The employer will have a new responsibility to sign off an apprentice as competent against the national occupational standard to allow the apprentice access to the final assessment.

Will the new qualifications be available through the medium of Welsh?

Yes, all of the new qualifications will have specification handbooks and sample assessments available through the medium of Welsh and English. All external assessments will be available through the medium of Welsh, and centres and training providers will be provided with support to also make internal assessment available through the medium of Welsh.

What resources and training will be available?

There will be a range of resources available, through the medium of English and Welsh, including qualification specifications and sample assessments. City & Guilds/EAL will provide a comprehensive programme of bilingual training events, information and resources to help centres and providers get ready to deliver the new qualifications.

What about learners who are already working towards a qualification?

The new qualifications will be available to learners who register for qualifications on or after 1 September 2021. Current qualifications will continue to be funded up until September 2021 and there will be a transition period to allow learners who are already working towards a qualification to be able to complete. Learners who are already working towards a qualification will not be affected, and they will continue their study until they complete their qualification.

Where can I get further information?

In spring 2020 City & Guilds/EAL will provide a new website with regularly updated information and events to help support the delivery of the new suite of qualifications. In the meantime Qualifications Wales, City & Guilds and EAL websites will provide information about the development of these qualifications.

Timeline of reform

City & Guilds/EAL are working together to be the sole provider of a new suite of Construction and Building Services Engineering qualifications in Wales, fundable for 16 to 19 year old and ready for first teaching from September 2021. To help prepare centres, training providers and learners the following activities are planned:

August – September 2019

During this time City & Guilds/EAL will be hosting a series of consultation activities with centres and stakeholders to discuss the qualifications content and assessment in more detail.

November 2019

City & Guilds/EAL will be inviting centres and stakeholders to take part in a survey as part of the consultation process.

December 2019

City & Guilds/EAL start to submit draft qualification specifications to Qualifications Wales.

March 2020

A new bilingual ‘Skills for Wales’ website from City & Guilds/EAL will be live with qualification descriptions. Events and webinars will be available for delegate registrations.

Summer 2020

City & Guilds/EAL will continue to submit draft qualifications in stages to Qualifications Wales – draft versions of qualification specification handbooks will be available over this period of time.

December 2020

Qualifications Wales plan to approve the qualifications at this time following which final specification handbooks and key documents will be made available in Welsh and English.

Spring 2021

City & Guilds/EAL will be holding training events for centres wishing to deliver the new qualifications.

Submissions of centre approval applications will commence.

September 2021

New suite of qualifications to be delivered to learners.

 

Request for feedback

All colleges, training providers and work-based learning centres in Wales delivering construction and building services engineering qualifications, please fill out our 5 minute survey.

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