The concept of the Occupational Maps arose out of the Sainsbury Report where the Independent Panel on Technical Education recommended the development of a framework of 15 routes to skilled employment. The Occupational Maps were developed to articulate this common framework across all technical education covering both employment based learning (apprenticeships) and college based (T Levels). The maps determine how occupations are categorised, and in turn where T Levels are administered.

The maps document all the skilled occupations that can be achieved through an apprenticeship or T Level qualification. Occupations are grouped together to show linkages between them and possible routes for progression.

1. Background

Each map sets out related occupations with relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) within a route. All apprenticeship standards are included on the maps as these represent skilled occupations where there is a substantial element of technical education required. T Levels are based on the same set of standards at level 3, so the maps also indicate the occupations that will covered by T Levels, apart from those identified by the Post-16 Skills Plan as being appropriate solely for apprenticeships.

The maps group occupations with related knowledge, skills and behaviours into pathways, making it easier to see the opportunities for career progression within that particular route. Within each pathway, occupations at the same level are grouped into clusters, to show how skills learnt can be applied to other related occupations.

2. Purpose of the Occupational Maps

Occupational Maps provide a useful guide to show the technical education options available for individuals, as well as employers and training providers who are interested in offering it. T Levels will be initially developed at level 3 and will cover all occupations within the respective pathway. For further information on the T Level programme, please refer to the Government Response to Implementing the T Level Programme.

To ensure the Occupational Maps remain up-to-date, each map is owned by a Route Panel, made up of industry experts. They have responsibility for ensuring the maps remain up to date as new apprenticeship standards are approved and existing ones reviewed.  Route Panels will also set the strategic direction of the route, identifying additional occupations that need to be developed where appropriate.

The UK economy is dynamic, so the Occupational Maps are intended to be live documents and will be updated regularly as occupations evolve and new ones emerge.

3. Definition of an occupation

An occupation is defined as a set of jobs whose main tasks and duties are characterised by a high degree of similarity and common across a relevant sector or sectors, rather than being associated with a single employer.  The Institute has a set of requirements, used as part of the approvals process, which must be met for an occupation to be judged appropriate for an apprenticeship standard or T Level. The Institute’s requirements for an occupation are for it to be:

  • Transferable to a range of employers
  • Sufficiently broad, deep and skilled to require at least a year of employment and training, with 20% of this being off-the-job
  • Capable of providing full occupational competence for new entrants to the occupation
  • Recognised and stand-alone

Route panels make recommendations on whether occupational proposals made by trailblazer groups meet these requirements to the Approvals and Funding Committee of the Institute’s board as the first stage in the approvals process. Once an occupation is agreed, it is placed on the relevant Occupational Map. This placement is confirmed when the occupational standard is agreed and the full knowledge, skills and behaviours are reviewed.  

4. Occupations that span multiple routes

Where occupations have knowledge, skills and behaviours that span across multiple routes, the respective Route Panels will have the opportunity to review and comment on the apprenticeship standard to determine which route is the most appropriate.

An occupation will only appear on one Occupational Map. It will be placed in the map which has the best alignment with its knowledge, skills and behaviours.

5. Keeping the Occupational Maps up to date

Each Route Panel is made up of industry experts and play a central role in ensuring that the maps remain current and forward looking as they review and approve new apprenticeships. They also regularly look at strategic issues facing the sectors covered by the maps.

The Institute took responsibility for the Occupational Maps in November 2017. We then undertook a public consultation to capture employer and industry feedback on the accuracy of the maps, whether all relevant occupations were included, and whether the occupations were grouped in the most meaningful way. Route Panels reviewed the recommendations and approved changes to the maps as a result. The updated maps were published on the Institute’s website in May 2018.

Going forward, updated maps will be published on the Institute’s website every quarter, representing the progress made to standards through the Institute’s approvals process.

6. Updated maps

The Institute has now published newly updated Occupational Maps which incorporate all the new occupations identified by our trailblazers, as well as those existing occupations which are being developed or have now been approved for delivery.

The 15 newly updated Occupational Maps can be found below:

  1. Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care
  2. Business and Administration
  3. Care Services
  4. Catering and Hospitality
  5. Construction
  6. Creative and Design
  7. Digital
  8. Education and Childcare
  9. Engineering and Manufacturing
  10. Hair and Beauty
  11. Health and Science
  12. Legal, Finance and Accounting
  13. Protective Services
  14. Sales, Marketing and Procurement
  15. Transport and Logistics