The maps help anyone who has an interest, or is working, in technical education. This includes:

  • helping people understand the options to train and progress in their careers
  • showing how occupations at different levels link together
  • providing workforce and career planning information, including likely salaries

IfATE works with employers to develop and approve:

  • occupational standards (descriptions of occupations and the skills, knowledge and behaviours (KSBs) needed)
  • apprenticeships
  • technical qualifications

The occupational maps show how these fit together. The maps are important because they help everyone, no matter where they come from.


1. What do the occupational maps show?

The maps group together occupations with related knowledge, skills and behaviours into 15 routes. This makes it easier to see how they relate to one another. We call them maps because they help people navigate the technical education landscape.

The maps show occupational standards which are employer-led descriptions of occupations. These standards describe each occupation, including its duties and required KSB’s. IfATE's apprenticeships and technical education products are based on these standards. 

The maps provide a lot of helpful information, including:

  • over 900 occupational progression pages
  • potential progression options into occupations that have similar knowledge and skills needs, (this could support people into a higher-level apprenticeship, qualification, and more senior jobs)
  • identifying 'green' occupations. Showing the impact an occupation has on helping the UK achieve net-carbon zero by 2050
  • the average salary an employee can expect to earn
  • T Level progression pages, (this shows progression opportunities available after completion of a T Level)
  • highlighting career starter apprenticeships which provide a great entry point for young people

The flexibility of the maps allows a user to engage with the information in different ways. Using the filters and display options allows users to arrange the data in the most helpful way. The maps also include a customisable feature to develop their own maps. Users can save favourite occupations in a custom listing.


2. Why use occupational maps?

The occupational maps are a great way to explore technical occupations by allowing a user to discover the apprenticeships and technical qualifications available. There are 15 route maps to help a user discover a wide range of skilled occupations.  We want everyone to be able to access information on technical education. This includes everyone from school leavers to employers.

The data and digital architecture are also freely available. This is through a publicly facing API (application programming interface). This is available for partner organisations to access. This means the information will always be up to date and consistent.

To make sure the occupational maps remain up to date, each map is owned by a route panel, The route panel is made up of industry experts. They use the maps to support decision making on apprenticeships and technical qualifications. Route reviews are used to help identify additional occupations that need to be developed.


3. What is an occupation?

Apprenticeships and IfATE approved technical qualifications are based on occupations. An occupation is skilled employment which has similar requirements across employers and workplaces. Occupations must meet our criteria to be approved.

An occupation proposal must meet our occupation requirements before we agree to its development as an occupational standard.

Route panels make recommendations on whether occupational proposals developed by employers meet these requirements as part of the approvals process.

Once an occupation is agreed, it is placed on the relevant occupational map with the attached occupational standard.


4. Can occupations be on multiple routes?

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


5. How are the maps updated?

The UK economy is dynamic and to reflect this the maps are updated as new occupations are created and approved, and as occupations change.

In addition to day-to-day changes to the maps, we also conduct route reviews. During a route review, the route panel considers the map, identifying any gaps or occupations that duplicate each other, and amend the map accordingly. This ensures the maps are current and reflective of employer needs.

As part of our route reviews, we consult with the public to capture employer and industry feedback on the maps.


6. Are other technical qualifications included?

Our occupational maps show all IfATE approved:

  • apprenticeships
  • T Levels
  • higher technical qualifications
  • level 2 and 3 qualifications in the near future


7. Are standards mapped to SOC codes?

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a common classification of occupational information for the UK. It is published by the Office for National Statistics.

SOC codes classify jobs in terms of their skill level and skill content.

It is used for:

  • career information to labour market entrants
  • job matching by employment agencies
  • development of government labour market policies

For more information about SOC codes, please visit Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) at the Office for National Statistics website.

IfATE has mapped occupations to SOC 2020 codes which are shown on the occupational maps. 


Last updated 27 October 2023
(AR, NS)