The application window for a second cycle of Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) quality marks has been announced.

The government announced plans last year to drive up the quality of level 4 and 5 qualifications and make it far easier for employers and learners to identify which training programmes meet their skills needs.

A key way of doing this will be through the launch of HTQs - which will be set apart from other qualifications by a government backed quality mark.

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

The second application window will run from 5 July until 17 September 2021. Qualifications submitted within the first month will go through our early submissions process, providing awarding bodies with more time to amend their qualifications following feedback from the employer panels, if needed.

Jennifer Coupland, the Institute’s chief executive, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to help fill national skills gaps at a higher technical level. Our priority will be to ensure that all HTQs deliver what employers and therefore learners really need from the training. They will therefore have to match up to the rigorous quality expectations already successfully applied to apprenticeships and T Levels. We recommend that awarding bodies apply early to make maximum use of feedback from our employers.”

The first round of applications, between September and December last year, focused on digital qualifications leading to occupations like network engineercyber-security technologist and software developer. Approved digital HTQs will be published later this year, for first teaching from September 2022.

The second cycle will cover construction, health and science and digital qualifications. These HTQs will be available for teaching from September 2023.

The Institute is running an introductory webinar for cycle two on 12 May from 10.30am covering the approvals process, timelines, approvals criteria, standards in scope, and the application form. There will also be an application workshop on 19 May from 2pm where the Institute will talk through the application form, required evidence, supporting documents and mapping of knowledge, skills and behaviours.