The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Qualification (IfATE) is pleased to announce details of the fourth cycle of its Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) approvals process. The government announced plans in 2020 to improve level 4 and 5 qualifications and make it far easier for employers and learners to identify which training programmes are high quality and meet their skills needs.

A key way of doing this will be through HTQs. These approved qualifications will be set apart from other qualifications by a government backed quality mark.

The quality mark will only be granted when Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) panels of industry experts are confident the qualification meets the Institute’s criteria, and will deliver the knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) employers really need.

The first wave of fully approved HTQs just for the digital sector will go live next month (September) and the last wave of approvals was announced in February this year.

This fourth cycle for approvals will be open on 8 May 2023 and run until 30 June 2023. It will be for courses to be taught from 2025 and will cover standards in the following new areas in addition to those announced in earlier stages.

  •  Agriculture, Environmental & Animal Care
  • Care Services
  • Catering & Hospitality
  • Creative & Design
  • Hair & Beauty
  • Protective Services
  • Sales, Marketing & Procurement
  • Transport & Logistics
Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of IfATE, said: “It is fantastic to see good progress being made with HTQs and I would like to pass on my very best wishes to the first students starting on them in the new academic year.

“The rollout of HTQs will help guarantee a supply of much-needed higher level skills. Take up of Level 4 and 5 training is much lower in England than other countries and we need to turn that around.

“This latest approvals window will be an important opportunity to secure prestigious recognition of your qualification and I would like to urge as many awarding organisations as possible to make submissions.”

IfATE will communicate standards in scope and engagement events and webinars for cycle four in due course. We have communicated the dates today to provide applicants with sufficient time to prepare ahead of the window opening.

For more information and to apply, visit: Introduction to Higher Technical Qualifications and scope of approval 

More facts and statistics:

  • The approval of Higher Technical Qualifications will initially be organised on a route-by-route basis. The first approval process started in September 2020 and focused on qualifications that aligned to occupations in the digital route. The first digital Higher Technical Qualifications will be taught from September 2022. Information on the 15 routes to skilled employment and the occupations they contain can be found on the occupational maps.
  • We have used the experience of first approvals on the digital route to refine and evolve the process ahead of future cycles. Cycle 2 includes digital, construction and health & science. Cycle 3 will add legal & finance, engineering & manufacturing, business & administration and education & childcare routes. A full schedule covering all remaining routes will be published in due course. The approvals process will run on an annual basis once the initial rollout of routes is complete.