1. Roles in the approvals process

Applicants submit qualifications for approval ensuring submissions meet IfATE’s criteria and are supported by appropriate evidence. They work with IfATE to address any feedback throughout the approvals process.

IfATE Officials review qualifications against IfATE’s approvals criteria and liaise with applicants throughout the approvals process. They prepare and present advice to internal boards and committees.

Ofqual and The Office for Students confirm recognition and registration requirements are met and provide advice to IfATE on the qualifications or organisations they regulate.

Statutory Regulators may advise IfATE about any relevant ongoing or impending regulatory action into a relevant qualification, Awarding Body, Higher Education provider or Higher Education Institution. When making approvals decisions, IfATE will have due regard to this advice.

Peer Reviewers are occupational experts, they may be asked by IfATE to provide specific employer insight on technical education. Evidence obtained is included in the advice presented to internal boards and committees.

Employer Route Panels provides the employer voice in the approvals process and ensures qualifications meet employer needs. Route panels review advice provided by IfATE Officials and ensures that IfATE’s criteria takes into account employer insight. 

Approvals Committee provides accountability to ensure approval criteria has been applied and due diligence has been followed. The Approvals Committee have delegated authorities who have been identified as suitably qualified and experienced individuals, to undertake specific approval activities. The Approvals Committee has the final sign off for products including apprenticeships, HTQs and T levels. 


2. Cycle 5 criteria

To obtain approval, level 4 and 5 qualifications must meet specified criteria.

Cycle 5's criteria is only applicable to qualifications submitted in cycle 5.

Cycle 4’s criteria will remain available for reference until the end of cycle. Please refer to cycle 5’s criteria when preparing your application.


3. Approval decisions

Applicants will be notified of an approval decision following IfATE’s governance process. Approval decisions will be confirmed via a formal decision letter.

For applicants who gain HTQ approval, IfATE will provide materials to support with marketing and preparation for the delivery of HTQs.

A list of approved HTQs for each approvals cycle is published on IfATEs website.


4. Procedural review

If you are unhappy with the final decision made in connection with your application you may be able to challenge IfATE’s decision by way of Procedural Review.

Procedural Review is an opportunity to challenge IfATE’s decision if you feel that the published process has not been followed or if you think there has been a material error made by IfATE during the approvals process. Procedural Review is not an avenue to challenge a decision of IfATE simply because you do not agree with it.


Last updated 18 December 2023
(SW, NS)