Qualifications Wales described the change as the biggest shake-up to qualifications in the sector for a generation. It said that a complex market with hundreds of existing qualifications will be simplified by eight new qualifications that will help reshape education and training for the industry in Wales.
Contracts have been awarded to a consortium of City & Guilds and EAL, who will be working with the regulator to design and deliver post-16 foundation, progression and apprenticeship qualifications.
The new qualifications are designed to offer learners more flexible and comprehensive progression routes into employment. Assessment will be streamlined but more robust, making sure that young people have the skills and knowledge they need to get ahead in their careers, it said.
The post-16 qualifications include an overarching foundation qualification in construction and the built environment, and progression and apprenticeship qualifications in building services engineering and construction. these will be available for first teaching from September 2021.
“We’re delighted to be awarding the contract for the development of new Construction and Built Environment qualifications for Wales to City & Guilds, working in partnership with EAL”, said Qualifications Wales’s director of qualifications policy & reform, Cassy Taylor. “The construction and building services sectors are large, diverse and a priority for Wales, and the new qualifications are being developed to meet the changing needs of the industry. They’ll enable workers to understand the role of new technologies in the sector, but will also give them the ability to maintain and repair the traditional buildings and structures we have in Wales.”
Sector representatives have contributed to the development of the new qualifications, and will continue to support the development process. Gareth Williams, standards and qualifications policy manager for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in Wales, said: “As a stakeholder in the Construction and Built Environment review, CITB is looking forward to working with City & Guilds and EAL to develop new, up-to-date qualifications that will benefit both learners and the industry in Wales. The new qualifications will broaden learners’ horizons, by encouraging more employers to take an active role in developing the workforce of the future in Wales.”
Ed Evans, Director of the Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association for Wales, added, “Qualifications Wales’s engagement with the sector has been really strong. That means that this starts to be led by the sector, rather than being led by educationalists.”
In addition to the Foundation, Progression and Apprenticeship qualifications, Qualifications Wales is also working with WJEC to develop approval criteria for a new GCSE in the built environment for first teaching from September 2021, and an AS and A level in the built environment, which will be available for first teaching from September 2022.