If an apprenticeship standard mandates a qualification, you will need to include information about the qualification on the occupational standard. This is to ensure employers and training providers know which qualifications meet the mandated qualification requirements.

The Education & Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) Learning Aims reference Service (LARS) will list the qualifications that meet the mandated qualification requirements for each apprenticeship standard.

When completing the occupational standard section of the template, you need to select a category as the basis for mandating a qualification; additional information fields that you need to populate will then appear.

The information requirements are below.

For all qualifications, you need to include:

  • whether it is mandated due to it being a regulatory requirement, professional registration requirement, meeting our ‘hard sift’ criterion or being an off-the-job technical qualification
  • the ‘type’ of qualification, that is: ‘type 1’ - a qualification that accredits occupational competence, or ‘type 2’ - an off-the-job technical qualification
  • title; if there are a number of titles then please include all of them
  • level
  • whether the qualification is Ofqual regulated (excluding degrees, see below) and the qualification number

For qualifications mandated because of a regulatory or professional registration requirement, you also need to include:

  • the name, address and web link for the regulatory or professional body together with a contact

Regulatory or professional bodies will need to update the ESFA regarding any qualifications (including degrees) developed that meet the mandated qualification requirements for an apprenticeship standard after it is published; so that they can be added to LARS and used in the apprenticeship standard. The ESFA will publish guidance on the process.

For qualifications mandated by meeting the ‘hard sift’ criterion or by virtue of being an off-the-job technical qualification, you also need to include:

  • the awarding organisation for each of the specific qualifications that meet the criteria (excluding degrees, see below)

For degree apprenticeship standards, you also need to provide:

  • the name of the Universities/Higher Education Institutions (HEI) involved in the development of the apprenticeship standard and expected to deliver the degree

Only those Universities/HEIs and degrees initially named on the occupational standard will be on the ESFA’s LARs.

Additional degrees not named on the occupational standard can be added to LARs, by reference to the regulatory or professional body recognition of their degree programme. Universities/HEIs should contact the ESFA in order to be added.

If other Universities wish to deliver an integrated or non-integrated degree apprenticeship standard, approved under the ‘hard sift’ criterion (where there is no regulatory or professional body involved) their proposed degree will need to be checked for alignment to the occupational standard. We are currently looking at how best to do this. 

Evidence requirements

If you wish to mandate a qualification in your occupational standard, you will need to provide evidence justifying this as follows.

For a regulatory requirement:

  • information on the relevant legislation; or
  • a letter from the regulator

For a professional registration requirement:

  • letter(s) of support from Professional Body

We have provided a template for the professional body letter of support.

For ‘hard sift’ criterion:

  • 10 job adverts from employers that are representative of the sector including small employers (fewer than 50), showing the qualification as an entry requirement; and
  • evidence of support for inclusion of the qualification via your consultation on the occupational standard

For a qualification that does not meet any of the above criteria but which you believe meets the requirements for mandating it as a type 2 - off-the-job technical qualification:

  • evidence that the qualification can only be delivered in off-the-job settings, such as published information or a letter from an awarding body
  • evidence that the cost or volume of off-the-job training will not increase significantly as a result of mandating the qualification
  • the total qualification time (TQT) including guided learning hours (GLH) for the qualification
  • a case that shows how the qualification provides greater breadth to achieve the whole occupational standard or provides structure to the off-the-job training

The relevant route panel will use the evidence provided by you to form a view on whether the qualification meets our requirements for mandating as an off-the job qualification. In making such a decision, the panel will also want assurance that it:

  • only accredits learning acquired in off-the-job training
  • does not incur more cost or require more off-the-job training than needed for competence in the occupational standard
  • does not accredit occupational competence
  • is not (normally) more than one level higher than the level of the apprenticeship standard