The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

QCF: Information for employers

Competence-based qualifications for building services engineering in the QCF




SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Council for Building Services Engineering and the Awarding Organisations, City & Guilds and EAL have been working closely over the last 12 months to develop new qualifications in accordance with the new regulatory requirements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), industry working practices, technologies and legislation to continue to provide the sector with a competent and skilled workforce needed to meet fast changing demands.

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For more information please email Trevor Hill or Graeme Dryden at SummitSkills or telephone 01908 303945.

>>> Information for the qualification delivery network

Frequently asked questions

We understand that employers will have concerns and questions about the new qualifications and their impact on the training and development of personnel, either as a new entrant (e.g. an apprentice) or existing practitioners (Continuous Professional Development).  In response to questions recently asked, it is hoped that the following information will help answer some of the most commonly raised questions employers may ask.

What will these qualifications replace?

The new qualifications will replace the current technical certificates or VRQs and NVQ Diplomas at levels 2 and 3 for the air conditioning and refrigeration, electrotecnical, eectrical and electronic servicing, heating and ventilation and plumbing industries.

The design principles for the new qualifications are set against the purpose of the qualification, i.e. reflect occupational competence.

The qualifications are competence-based – a combination of knowledge, understanding and application of skills – and reflect the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for particular occupations e.g. electrician; plumber; domestic heating installer; heating and ventilation service engineer.

Where do the qualifications fit in the industries qualifications progression framework?

These qualifications are designed for learners who are new entrants to the sector and those who are existing practitioners.

Like existing VRQs and NVQ Diplomas, the new qualifcations will have levels to indicate there breadth and depth of content.  They will also be given a credit value which indicates the length of time a learner will take to complete the qualification. (1 credit = 10 hours of learning/assesment time). 

Who is designing the qualifications?

For several years the building services engineering sector has used NVQ Diplomas as the currencyfor an individual demonstrate competence. During this time SummitSkills, in consultation with employers, Trade Associations, Trade Unions and Competent Persons Scheme operators, has reviewed and revised the sector’s NOS and qualification structures. This extensive consultation, completed in early 2009, has informed the design and content of the new qualifications.

The titles of the new qualifications reflect occupational competence in a given job role.

The qualifications will be a combination of knowledge units, performance units and combination units (Knowledge and Performance) – the combination will be subject to the occupation the qualification is for.  This combination of units is known as Rules of Combination.

Throughout the development process for the qualifications consultation has been, and will continue to be,  maintained with the JIBs, UNITE, ECA, APHC, HVCA, IoR, BCIA, DCLG, ASLEC, and CPF, all of who represented on the projects Sector Liason group.

In terms of technical content and quality of assessment the new qualifications will equate to (and in some cases enhance) that in existing NVQ Diplomas and VRQs.

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When will the qualification go live?

It is anticipated that the qualifications will go live from September 2010.

The qualifications will be offered by two Awarding Organisations(Bodies) C&G and EAL, both of which will have to adhere to regulatory requirements as determined by Ofqual (The regulatory Body) and design/assessment principles as determined by SummitSkills.

Will the new qualifications be included in the apprenticeship frameworks for the occupations in the sector?

YES - The Government have introduced a new statutory document for the design, development and delivery of apprenticeship frameworks – Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Apprenticeships (SASE).  The frameworks for our sector will be reviewed and revised in accordance with SASE and include the new qualifications. This must be completed by 31 March 2011.

Will I (as an employer) be able to use my in-house training to contribute to my staff acieving the qualification?

YES but the methodology/procedures used will be at the descretion of the Awarding Organisation.

Will there need to be a bridging course between existing qualifications and new qualifications?

NO - procedures for exemptions and equivalences will be introduced in order that learners can transfer from an existing qualification to a new one appropriately.

Learners who are registered (by 31 JULY 2010) on existing qualification will be able to complete their learninmg and assessment programme (Certification Period/Run-out Time).

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Will the qualification be funded and if so to what extent?

The qualifications will be eligible for public funding. However, final confirmation of the funding model is yet to be announced by funding agencies.

What are the titles of the qualifications

See annex one for a summary.

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