The application window for the third cycle of Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) approvals process has now opened.

The government announced plans in 2020 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 HTQs. Approved qualifications 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 meets the Institute’s criteria, and will deliver the knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) employers really need.

The third application window will run from 16 February until 29 July 2022. The HTQ team will begin processing applications as soon as their submitted. We encourage applicants to submit early, providing applicants with more time to amend their qualifications following feedback, 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 two cycles, covered the digital, health & science, and construction routes, leading to occupations like network engineerconstruction site supervisor and nursing associate. Approved cycle 2 HTQs will be published later this year, for first teaching from September 2023. Approved cycle 1 qualifications are available on our website, for first teaching from September 2022.

The third cycle will include business & admin, education & childcare, engineering & manufacturing, legal, finance & accounting, as well as the previously introduced routes. These HTQs will be available for teaching from September 2024.