Read the Higher Technical Qualification (HTQ) Privacy Notice on our Privacy page.
Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) are level 4 or 5 qualifications that have been quality marked by IfATE to indicate their alignment to employer-led occupational standards. New or existing level 4 or 5 qualifications submitted to IfATE’s approvals process will receive a quality-mark if the qualification satisfies IfATE's approvals criteria. HTQs align to approved occupational standards and allow learners to enter their chosen profession or progress onto higher education.
There is a growing demand for skills at levels 4 and 5 from employers and learners. The number of learners taking qualifications at level 4 and 5 is low compared to other countries and other levels of education.
In July 2020, the government published its plans for the future of higher technical education at level 4 and 5 in England. These plans set out the government’s ambition to increase the number of learners at level 4 and 5, and the supply of much-needed skills, to raise productivity and prosperity. This will be achieved through three key reforms:
The Department for Education (DfE) is responsible for developing the policy for the reforms of higher technical education and qualification funding. The department also has responsibility for increasing the prestige of higher technical provision through the promotion of the HTQ quality-mark and communications material, as well as improving information, advice, and guidance.
IfATE have put in place an employer-led HTQ approvals process, building on our experience and expertise of approving apprenticeships and T Levels. We will compare submitted qualifications against approved occupational standards, ensuring sufficient coverage and assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are needed for an occupation. We will also require robust employer engagement and endorsement of submitted qualifications.
IfATE are responsible for making final approval decisions.
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) is an independent body set up to review student complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales. The 2004 Act defines the higher education providers that are required to be members of the OIA’s Scheme.
The Department for Education encourages all providers which own an approved HTQ to join OIAs scheme, to provide a consistent approach for complaints from students.
For cycle 5 there will be two application windows, each are a month in duration.
The application windows for cycle 5 will be as follows:
Qualifications submitted in the primary window could be delivered from September 2025, if approved before November 2024. We cannot guarantee approval by November, and our ability to approve qualifications by this time will depend on the quality and quantity of submissions.
Qualifications submitted in the secondary window will only be available for first teach from September 2026.
We strongly recommend all new applicants and all Ofqual regulated Awarding Organisations submit in the primary window to ensure their applications are approved before the cycle cut off in March 2025.
We ask applicants to attend a support session prior to submitting their application. You will need to have a support session before being able to access the online form.
You can download a list of occupational standards in scope for cycle 5 of the Higher Technical Qualification approvals process.
Please contact the HTQ approvals team if you are considering submitting a qualification against an occupational standard not listed above, and we will be happy to discuss the case with you. Some of the occupational standards not listed here are under-going review or have reviews scheduled to start during cycle 5.
We will periodically update this list when occupational standards become available, and if there is a need to remove occupational standards from the scope of HTQ approval.
If you have a qualification that aligns to an occupation that is not included in IfATE’s occupational maps, we want to hear from you. If the identified occupation meets our criteria we will work with you and relevant employers to develop an occupational standard. Please email us to discuss new occupations.
Last updated 29 November 2023