Qualification titles and supporting materials are primary sources of information to determine the occupational direction and utility of technical qualifications.

Level 2 and 3 technical qualification titles

As currently applied, IfATE believe all qualification titles should clearly communicate the awarding body name and level, along with a short but accurate description of the content contained within the qualification.

To achieve an accurate description of content, IfATE require that all approved technical qualifications provide a clear indication as to the occupational standard, specialised job role or cross-cutting workplace function to which they relate.  This does not require that titles include a re-statement of the standard’s title in full, however, awarding bodies should ensure the title makes it suitably clear as to the occupational area targeted by the qualifications content. This signposting within the qualification title is intended to, give users a direct line of sight between the technical qualification and the employability outcome it targets

To further aid accessibility for users, IfATE also require that titling should refer to the level of competence signalled by achievement of the qualifications. The level of competence indicated in the title has a direct relationship with the category under which the qualification has gained approval (see Table 1 for requirements when referencing competence in titling). 

Awarding bodies must ensure that any misleading or legacy elements of titles are removed from their qualification materials. This includes reference to qualification types such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), the framework for which ceased to exist in 2015.

These requirements are in line with Ofqual’s published General Conditions of Recognition, with awarding bodies also having regard to the conditions set out in E2 when titling their qualification materials

Table 1 demonstrates the relationship between the category and the specific competence reference to be included within technical qualification titling. IfATE have also provided examples of qualification titles to aid understanding:

Category Titling requirement  Example title
Occupational entry ‘Technical Occupational Entry’ Level 3 Technical Occupational Entry in Motor Vehicle Servicing and Maintenance (Diploma)
Additional specialist ‘Technical Specialist’ Level 3 Technical Specialist in Electric Vehicle Repair (Certificate)
Cross cutting function ‘Technical Cross Cutting Function’ Level 3 Technical Cross Cutting Function in emergency first aid (Award)
Occupational progression 'Technical Progression' Level 3 Technical progression in [no example identified] (Certificate)
Employer proposed ‘Technical Occupational Entry’ Level 3 Technical occupational entry in [no example identified] (Diploma)

Qualification Materials

Where a qualification is approved within an occupational entry category, feedback through the IfATE consultation confirmed the that awarding bodies should seek to publish, within their qualification materials, the aligned mapping to KSBs within IfATE’s occupational standard(s) for each approved qualification. Software tools may be used to support our analysis of the coverage of content indicated by these mapping documents.

The publication of such mapping is useful both for employers to identify qualification coverage against employer-led standards, and providers when recognising prior learning for students transferring between related technical products (for example, for a classroom student moving into an apprenticeship).

Whilst IfATE do not mandate that awarding bodies publish such mapping we would strongly advise this to ensure that users of the qualification are able to easily understand the relationship between the qualification’s content and our employer-led occupational standards. Once live, it is the responsibility of the awarding body to ensure that their published mapping continues to accurately reflect the level of coverage offered by the approved technical qualification.


Published 10 Jan 2023
Last updated 28 June 2023
(LH, NS)