BTEC Higher Nationals How to engineer a qualification
We have joined forces with Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, to integrate innovation and industry-relevant skills into our Engineering Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs).
These level 4 and 5 qualifications are practical, employer-led alternatives to apprenticeships and degrees and must pass a stringent approval process set by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE). Employers have an active role to play in accreditation, through close collaboration with education companies such as Pearson.
We have worked closely with industry experts to design the content of these qualifications, which are intended to address a chronic skills gap which threatens to slow down growth and innovation in key sectors of the economy.
According to our recent Skills Outlook report, two-thirds (62 per cent) of business leaders are worried about finding recruits with the right skills for their vacancies. A third (36 per cent) revealed they have not expanded due to the skills gap.
David Abrahams, a Key Client Manager for Schneider Electric's IT's Global Operations division, has worked with us to develop the new Engineering HTQs.
"We are committed to shaping the future of buildings, infrastructure and industries through innovation," says David. "To do this, we need a steady influx of recruits who possess not only the core skills needed in this highly technical field but also the softer skills that allow them to work effectively within a team, network and flourish into leadership roles."
Dr Sahithi Siva, our Subject Lead for Engineering for Higher Education, currently working on Higher National product development, echoes this sentiment: "We greatly value employer participation and appreciate the commitment they make, and David has been fantastic. The process is rigorous, but the outcomes benefit everyone involved."
Getting HTQs approved by IfATE involves consulting a broad spectrum of stakeholders, mapping knowledge, skills, and behaviours, and ensuring the qualification aligns with industry standards. This process is iterative, requiring frequent feedback and amendments, followed by approval from OFQUAL and a separate submission process with IfATE. "It is a complex, lengthy process but is essential to ensure the quality and relevance of our qualifications," states Sahithi.
With the UK striving to close the skills gap at the Level 4 and Level 5 technician levels in the engineering industry, the development of HTQs has been met with enthusiastic support from the sector. Despite changes in policy over the past few years, the demand for HTQs remains strong. Employers understand their value, and considerable time and financial investment have been channelled into ensuring their success.
David wholeheartedly endorses his experience working with us on the HTQ development process. Reflecting on his involvement, he shares, "It was incredibly fulfilling to be part of this journey. I strongly encourage other employers to embrace the opportunity if approached. It's a unique chance to nurture and develop talent within their respective industries directly."
We are actively working to future-proof its qualification units, ensuring they remain relevant for at least the next five years. The company also developed a new space technologies Higher National qualification to deliver the space engineering technician standard, with organisations like Airbus Defence and Space and National Space Agency providing crucial feedback.
As technology progresses at a breakneck pace, partnerships like the one between Pearson and Schneider Electric are vital for ensuring innovation is built into qualifications and learners acquire the hard and soft skills needed for the future and thrive in tomorrow's industries.
We have recently received accreditation for HTQs in the Digital, Construction, Healthcare, Sport, Business, and Engineering sectors, and is planning to develop more HTQs in some of these key sectors.