24 August 2021

Pearson Higher Education Qualifications are delighted to be able to support Office for Students (OfS) Approved (fee cap) Providers, as part of the Office for Students Challenge Competition: Higher Education Short Course Trial.

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The trial is intended to provide students with opportunities to study in a more flexible way, test and stimulate demand for modular learning and assess how employers, HE providers and students will behave toward greater funding flexibility.

The Office for Students (OfS) has been asked by the Department for Education (DfE) to launch a Challenge Competition to trial higher education short courses, which are part of a designated qualification, providing an opportunity for people to build up learning over their lifetime and choose how and when they study to acquire new skills, with a particular focus on; Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), Education, Digital Innovation, Healthcare, Net Zero.

This is part of the government’s approach to delivering the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) and encompasses qualifications such as Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals, Foundation Degrees (Fd.), Higher Technical Qualifications.

Find out more about the Higher Education Short Course Trial


Key points

  1. The trial will test the interest of both students and employers in shorter provision aimed at developing skills needed by employers in key parts of the economy. It will also allow the OfS to understand and test whether the current regulatory system works for this type of provision and whether approaches would need to be adapted.
  2. A total of up to £2 million will be made available to around 20 providers across the competition.
  3. Students studying on short courses developed through the Challenge Competition may be able to access tuition fee loans from the start of academic year 2022-23 through the new student finance product developed by the Student Loans Company (SLC), subject to eligibility criteria.
  4. Eligible providers - OfS registered providers in the Approved (fee cap) category - will be eligible to bid for funding through this competition, though a wider range of partners will be able to participate through consortium arrangements.
  5. Funding for successful providers will commence in December 2021 and end in March 2022, with the aim that this will support the development of provision that will be delivered from September 2022.
  6. Provision developed through and students supported by this competition will fall within the scope of the OfS’s existing regulatory requirements.

Source: OfS Challenge Fund Initial Guidance


Supporting lead bids with the Pearson BTEC Higher National offer

Pearson can support and work collaboratively with OfS registered approved (fee cap) providers to formulate a bid submission to the OfS, in late September 2021, with the following solutions:

Designed specifically for short course delivery with the opportunity for modular building of units to achieve 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits, plus a clear progression route to a Pearson BTEC Higher National qualification or progression to an undergraduate degree, via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). HN Flex is also recognised by UCAS.

Find out more about HN Flex

Option to create an Award size, Ofqual regulated qualification, of 60 credits. The HN Award can be created via the selection of existing Pearson BTEC Higher National units or by working with you to custom design units to meet specific requirements, for example, of employers.

We have a range of current units that can be delivered in a blended learning format through our HN Online product and we can work with you to build new online content to support your programme.

Find out more about HN Online

This is an opportunity to design and develop Higher National qualifications and individual units of 15 or 30 credits, to specifically meet sector and employer requirements.

Find out more about custom designed Higher Nationals

We work closely with a range of national and global employers through each stage of the qualification development cycle, and we can support you with the required employer evidence to support your bid.

Find out more about our work with industry

Our qualifications are supported by employers, for example, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), was directly involved in the development of the Higher National in Cloud Computing, through its AWS Educate initiative.

Find out more about this project

Many of our Higher National qualifications provide alignment to IfATE occupational standards.

The Higher National in Computing has been awarded the Higher Technical Qualification quality mark.

In addition, the Higher Nationals in Digital Technologies, Construction and Healthcare Practice will be submitted to IfATE as part of the Cycle 2 approvals process.

We shall be submitting further Higher Nationals in future cycles.

BTEC Higher National Diploma in Computing receives Higher Technical Qualification status in England

Visit our Higher Technical Education pages

Supportng the delivery of short courses/workforce development

Our Higher National suite of qualifications are comprised of individual units, which can be used as part of a short course delivery. The focus of the OfS Challenge Competition are the following sectors: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), Education, Digital Innovation, Healthcare, Net Zero. Our existing suite of Higher National qualifications include; Applied Sciences, Digital Technologies, Computing, Cloud Computing, Engineering, Healthcare and Construction.

As an example, here are some units from our Higher National qualifications that consider the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and carbon neutrality which could be delivered as part of a short course. It is also possible to use units from our full range of Higher National programmes and/or utilise our Higher National Custom Design Service to create additional specialist units to complement a range of sectors.

As an example, here are some units from our Higher National qualifications that consider the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and carbon neutrality which could be delivered as part of a short course.

It is also possible to use units from our full range of Higher National programmes and/or utilise our Higher National Custom Design Service to create additional specialist units to complement a range of sectors.

Higher National in Applied Sciences

  • Unit 39: Environmental Monitoring & Analysis
  • Unit 60: Renewable Energy Resources & Technology

Higher National in Construction

  • Unit 16: Principles of Alternative Energy
  • Unit 35: Alternative Methods of Construction
  • Unit 40: Alternative Energy Systems Design & Installation
  • Unit 46: Advanced Materials

Higher National in Engineering

  • Unit 5: Renewable Energy
  • Unit 51: Sustainability

Higher National in Manufacturing Operations

  • Unit 1: Manufacturing Processes
  • Unit 13: Sustainability and the Environment in the Manufacturing Industry
  • Unit 31: Properties & Applications of Materials and Emerging Materials Pre-Production

Higher Nationals in Computing, Cloud Computing and Digital Technologies

  • Unit 15: Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Intelligent Systems
  • Unit 39: E-commerce & Strategy
  • Unit 41: Digital Sustainability

Higher National in Agriculture

  • Unit 30: Sustainable Practices

Explore our qualifications

To support your staff in the delivery of Higher Nationals, we have a specialist team of subject matter experts who work closely with our Pearson approved centres to support the development of Higher National teaching teams, via dedicated training, resources (including online self-paced modules) and specialist knowledge. In addition, we have experience in developing bespoke training programmes to enhance knowledge and competencies.

How to deliver Pearson short courses

There are a range of options available in order to deliver Pearson Higher National short courses, these include:

  • Pearson Approved Higher National centres
  • Become a Pearson Approved Higher National centre
  • Pearson licence agreement for universities - the Pearson Licence Agreement enables any university in the United Kingdom to validate, deliver and award its own Higher National Diplomas and Certificates (or modules thereof) under licence, and use the Pearson trademark 'Higher National'.

If you would like Pearson to partner with you to support with you on lead bids please contact Marianne Henden, Qualifications Business Development Lead, via email at marianne.henden@pearson.com.
 

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