June 2016 work-based learning and colleges update | Pearson qualifications

June 2016 work-based learning and colleges update

22 June 2016

This month's update includes information on reformed 'Trailblazer' apprenticeships in the sector, qualification amendments, extensions and withdrawals, funding and resources.

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Reformed ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeships in the construction sector

As you may be aware, the government is reforming apprenticeships, requiring employers to set new standards and assessment plans for apprenticeships with an emphasis on End-Point Assessment.

Learn more about these reformed standards

We're fully supporting employer groups as they develop new standards for occupations between levels 2 and 6. We're encouraging involvement of the existing provider network to ensure successful transition and take-up, developing pre-apprenticeship and on-programme qualifications and assessment services and providing End-Point Assessment in our areas of expertise.

Where standards are a direct replacement, there will be a transition period and dual running of apprenticeships, which may be up to 2017 and beyond. The government hopes to have ended all current SASE frameworks by 2018, although this may change depending on development progress.

Please contact our customer services team for more information on new construction standards and how this may affect providers.

Here's a summary of some key standards being developed in construction:

Bricklayer/ Plasterer

Master Bricklayer/ Plasterer is in development and is currently planned to be a level 3 apprenticeship. This is being led by the Federation of Master Builders. An expression of interest to develop a level 2 standard for bricklayers has also been submitted, though this is yet to be approved.

Anticipated launch: TBC.

Surveying Technician

L3 Diplomas are specified as acceptable components of the apprenticeship to meet the knowledge requirements as on programme achievement. This can include the BTEC National Subsidiary Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (Surveying). We plan to undertake mapping to ensure the standards will be met by the BTEC Diploma, and design the new version of the BTEC for 2017 to continue to incorporate these standards.

Evidence of on-programme competence is be demonstrated by a portfolio of evidence, mapped to the standards (not necessarily an NVQ). Providers can agree the programme used with employers, who will expect them to demonstrate that their approach meets the standards required, whatever the method chosen. End-Point Assessment is a professional review by RICS.

Anticipated launch: Live from 1 September 2015.

Construction Site Technician and Manager (various)

Standards at levels 4 and 6 will cover contracting disciplines at technician level (such as site supervision, quantity surveying, site surveying, site engineering) and for Site Management in Civil and Building Services Engineering. A workbook is currently specified to evidence on-programme competence requirements, mapping to professional body requirements. Existing NVQs such as the Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Site Supervision may be acceptable to meet the standard.

We are undertaking mapping to ensure the standards can be met by the NVQ. HNC is recommended as a component for knowledge at L4 with selected BTEC National units identified as a possible entry route in the first year for those without a Level 3 qualification. End-Point Assessment will incorporate Professional Body review.

Anticipated launch: 1 September 2016.

Lifting Technician

This standard (Level 2) is in development for operators of mobile, crawler and tower cranes. The on-programme requirements currently include NVQs in Controlling Lifting Operations and NVQs in Plant Operations. End-Point Assessment is planned to be an industry-standard knowledge test, professional discussion and observation of performance.

Digital Engineering Technician

A level 3 standard is in development for digital engineers working as project technicians with responsibility for design, communication, measurement and integration of data, using BIM techniques. An NVQ in Built Environment Design can evidence on-programme competence and End-Point Assessment may be task-based, using industry software

Anticipated launch: TBC.


The Level 2 Standard is for those working as steelfixing operatives - placing and setting steelwork structures to reinforce concrete in major building projects. On-programme assessment is expected to use current qualifications. 

See a list of all new apprenticeships standards

Qualification amendments

The current version of the Pearson Edexcel Level 7 NVQ Diploma in Construction Senior Management has now been extended until 31 December 2016 while we we continue to work on the replacement version.

This replacement meets new National Occupational Standards set by industry but we are still agreeing changes to the units in order to meet our regulatory requirements. Centre approval to the new version will be transferred as soon as it is ready, and at that point specifications will be issued online.

Qualification extensions

BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Thermal Insulation

This qualification has been extended until 31 December 2017 to ensure it can continue to be used in SASE Apprenticeships.

BTEC Level 2 Award and Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment (Specialist: Construction)

These qualifications have been further extended until 31 August 2017 due to continued customer demand. Providers can continue to use them, particularly as a more practical alternative to BTEC First qualifications, for learners in full- or part-time education. During 2016 we are developing qualifications to meet new DFE performance measures across a number of practical trades, which will eventually replace these qualifications - see below.

We are considering a further interim extension until September 2017 so that learners can continue to enrol during the 16/17 academic year, after which it will be replaced by new Level 2 Technical Certificates (below).

BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Construction Occupations and new, Practical Level 2 Post-16 Technical Certificates for work

This BTEC has now been extended to August 2017 to ensure it can continue to underpin apprenticeship frameworks. It has also received provisional approval by the DfE to meet the interim funding measures.

However, when apprenticeship frameworks reform it will no longer apply to this market, so it will be replaced by new, practical Technical Certificates for 16+ learners to help prepare for direct entry to employment. This is intended to meet full DFE criteria and as described above will also replace the BTEC ‘Specialist: Construction’ qualifications.

Topics will include:

  • Bricklaying
  • Joinery/ Carpentry
  • Plumbing 
  • Painting/ Decorating

It will include grading and external assessment. We have carried out consultation and will continue to do so during early 2016.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Construction Occupations

This qualification has now been extended until 31 August 2017 so that it can continue to underpin level 3 advanced apprenticeships in certain trades.


The DFE accepted our application for funding against the interim Technical Certificate measures (level 2 qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds) for the BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Construction Occupations 600/3254/6. We also received approval for our Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations 601/2500/7 as part of learners’ non-core entitlement. Separate to DFE funding for core and non-core entitlements, we plan to continue to apply for qualifications to be eligible for loans.

In addition, the SFA is automatically reviewing our currently funded, and eligible non-funded, qualifications for future 16/17 funding under ‘local flexibility’ criteria for providers.

Find out more about the funding processes

Sign up for our funding newsletter

New free teaching resources for BTEC Level 1 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment (qualification linking to Green CSCS Labourers’ Card)

We have updated the workbook that is available free to centres to gather knowledge evidence for this qualification. It contains more contextualised case studies, questions and up-to-date scenarios to help both teaching and the gathering of evidence.

We have also developed free teaching materials with images and content designed to aid delivery and provide an engaging learning experience. This is mapped to each learning outcome and is designed to accompany the workbook.

Visit the qualification page to see materials and the updated workbook

(Edexcel Online login required) 

Qualification withdrawals due to low uptake

The following qualifications are set to be closed to new registrations:


Qualification title

End date for new registrations


BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Plant Maintenance

Closes to new registrations on 30/04/2016


Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Certificate in Non-Domestic Energy Assessment

Closes to new registrations on 30/04/16


BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Construction Occupations

Closes to new registrations on 30/04/16


BTEC Level 6 Diploma in Construction*

Closes to new registrations on 31/10/2016


BTEC Level 6 Extended Diploma in Construction*

Closes to new registrations on 31/10/2016


BTEC Level 6 Subsidiary Diploma in Construction*

Closes to new registrations on 31/10/2016

*Although these qualifications are set to end in their current form, we intend to replace them with improved content and progression routes for construction managers, to meet the Educational Base of the IENG professional standard.

If you have feedback on these, or any other areas in which you would like Pearson to develop qualifications, or if you would like to be involved in consultation, please contact us.


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