Qualification Reforms Frequently Asked Questions

Proposed reformed qualifications

These level 2 cycle 1 qualifications have been proposed to IFATE and await their approval. Once approved, they will be ready for first teaching in September 2025.

  • L2 Technical Occupational Entry in Bricklaying
  • L2 Technical Occupational Entry in Painting and Decorating
  • L2 Technical Occupational Entry in Plastering
  • L2 Technical Occupational Entry in Carpentry and joinery
  • L2 Technical Occupational Entry in Maintenance Operations
  • L2 Technical Occupational Entry in Light Vehicle Service and maintenance
  • L2 Technical Occupational Entry in Engineering

Where can I find the key documents from government?

Will all Awarding Organisations be required to develop these new qualifications?

Awarding Organisations are free to choose which of the new qualifications they want to develop.

How will the new Level 3 qualifications be developed?

To qualify for funding from 2025, all Level 3 academic and technical qualifications will need to meet pre-set criteria approved by the Department for Education, in collaboration with IfATE and Ofqual. Depending on the type of qualification this could include:

  • Quality and progression criteria
  • Confirmation of employer demand
  • Meeting or linking to occupational standards
  • Minimal overlap to A Level or T Level content or destination

Once approved, the new Level 3 qualifications will be funded for a period of three years.

When will the new Level 3 qualifications be available?

Once approved, the new qualifications will be become available in two cycles. 


Occupational routes


Confirmation of funding and customer onboarding to start

First teaching

Cycle 1

Construction and the Built Environment


Education and Childcare

Health and Science

Engineering and Manufacturing

July 2024

September 2025

Cycle 2


Finance and Accounting

Business and Administration

Hair and Beauty

Catering and Hospitality

Creative and Design

Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care

Also academic qualifications in sector subject areas that do not align to occupational routes, such as performing arts

July 2025

September 2026


When will City & Guilds current Level 3 qualifications no longer be funded?

The defunding of Level 3 qualifications will happen in Summer 2024. The timing has been aligned to the planned roll out of T Levels.

Occupational routes

Date funding removed from qualifications that overlap with approved T Levels

Last date for new starts on existing funded qualifications

Built environment


Education & Childcare

Health and Science (impacted qualifications will be confirmed once the review of the Health and Science T Level content has concluded)

1 August 2024

Academic year 2023-24


Finance & Accounting

Engineering & Manufacturing

Business & Admin

Hair & Beauty

Catering & Hospitality

Creative Design

Agriculture, environmental and animal care

1 August 2025

Academic year 2024-25


Which of the Level 3 City & Guilds qualifications will not be impacted by these changes?

The following qualifications are not impacted:

  • Core Maths
  • Extended Project qualifications
  • Technical qualifications within T Levels
  • Apprenticeships
  • Traineeships
  • 14-16 offer (Key Stage 4)
  • Qualifications approved for use with pre-16 learners
  • Programmes offered under devolved adult education budgets

Are Level 2 qualifications affected?

Level 2 qualifications are included in the reform. Currently, the first teaching of reformed Level 2 qualifications will be in Autumn 2025 for Cycle 1 subjects, and Autumn 2026 for Cycle 2 subjects, mirroring the approach taken with Level 3 qualifications.

Will qualifications that form part of an apprenticeship or traineeships be impacted by these reforms?

Qualifications within an apprenticeship, traineeship or 14-16 Key Stage 4 are out of scope from the reforms so will continue to be funded.

Level 3 qualifications are currently available in lots of different sizes and their titles can be confusing. Will the reforms help with this?

The aim of the reforms is to simplify the post-16 range of choices and provide more clarity for learners. For those aged 16-19 T Levels will be the main technical qualification of choice, with A Levels for those choosing an academic route. Alternative academic qualifications (AAQs) will also be available in some areas.

For a more detailed breakdown of subject areas please refer to pages 10-15 of the DfE Guide to Post-16 qualification landscape at Level 3 and below for 2025 and beyond.

How will the reforms impact adult learners hoping to progress to Higher Education?

Alongside A Levels and Access to Higher Education Diplomas, adults who want to progress into higher education will have access to the same range of AAQs at Level 3 as 16-19 year olds.

Will any of the new Level 3 qualifications be eligible for inclusion in post-16 performance measures?

Yes, the alternative academic qualifications, occupational entry qualifications, and additional specialist qualifications approved for funding at Level 3 will be eligible for inclusion in 16-18 performance measures.

Will the reforms in England impact provision in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland?

Whilst the Level 2 and Level 3 reforms are England only, changes to how qualifications are funded may impact qualifications that are currently available to learners in the devolved nations. We continue to work with the regulators to ensure minimal disruption for our customers and learners across all our geographies.

To provide you with information and support as you plan your curriculum for the next academic year and beyond, we have developed downloadable sector overviews that provide a 4-year view of technical qualifications and apprenticeships from City & Guilds.

Download the sector overviews

City & Guilds needs employers from a range of industries involved in reforming our qualifications. Do you have views on the skills and knowledge you want from your recruits?                         

Find out more