Engineering and Manufacturing

Subject update |

May 2021 Engineering update

Here is your May 2021 subject update for Engineering. 

In this update, you will access the latest information on Q-TAGs for summer 2021 and other useful updates from the sector, including an update to the BTEC Nationals in Engineering specification. 

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Summer 2021 Q-TAG information and guidance

Below are useful links to information and guidance on summer 2021 Q-TAGs. From the VQ bulletin blog, please sign up to receive the bulletins. These bulletins include the most up-to-date information and guidance on summer 2021 arrangements. 

Further updates from the Engineering sector

You may have seen in the recent editions of our VQ Bulletin (edition 14) and VQ Bulletin (edition 15) that we have reclassified some of our Engineering Apprenticeship Standards qualifications, such as the BTEC Specialist in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, from category B1 to B2 (as defined by Ofqual). The engineering qualifications that have been moved to category B2 are listed at the end of the update in the link below.  

Read the full update

Category B2 qualifications are qualifications which are used to support progression to further or higher study but do not have the same characteristics as GCSEs, AS, A levels and are not delivered in the same way. Please use the flowchart in the link below to make decision on Q-TAGs.

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Guidance and information for Q-TAGs in B2 category

We have now produced guidance and instructions for centres who need to access a Q-TAG for some of their learners. The process will be by application only, in line with other B2 qualifications (like Functional Skills) and subject to conditions. These conditions are in place to ensure learners accessing a Q-TAG are assessment-ready and prepared for the next stage in their learning. As such, before considering a Q-TAG for your learners, you must ensure all content has been taught, and all assessment opportunities have been provided. You will need to evidence this in addition to how you have come to a Q-TAG for your learners.

To apply for a Q-TAG, you must complete an ‘Intention to Q-TAG’ application form, we will then send you further documentation to complete, which includes the details of learners that you wish to apply for.

The window for applications is now open and will close on 31 August 2021.

Please visit our dedicated webpage, in which you can access more information, FAQs and the intention for QTAGs application form.

Access guidance and instructions here

The deadline for the activity is 30 May* and this means all reports should be completed by that date. Please encourage your teams to get samples to Standards Verifiers as soon as possible, so you can receive feedback before the 18 June Q-TAG deadline. There will be no extension to this date, as we will move our focus to the Q-TAG process and associated quality assurance activities.

*with the exception of ’B2’ categorised BTEC qualifications.

You will already be aware of the existing mitigations regarding ‘reduced assessment’ available to mid-flight learners. We have heard and spoken to many of you regarding the need to ensure that mid-flight learners have the impact they’ve experienced this year as a result of the pandemic fully mitigated. In some cases you’ve told us that ‘reduced assessment’ mitigations do not go far enough.

We will release further support on mid-flight learners (including those who will ‘top-up’ next year) as soon as possible to ensure learners are not disadvantaged – and we thank you for your feedback.

We are sorry to inform you that there has been a delay to the release of ‘Z flag’ functionality, where you are able to ‘flag’ a unit as ‘reduced’, meaning it was taught, but not assessed. In line with our guidance, this is required for mid-flight learners, or certificating learners who plan to ‘top-up’ to a larger qualification next year. We will of course adjust deadlines in relation to the submission of this data and would like to reiterate it is not essential to submit reduced assessment flags for certificating learners who are not ‘topping-up’ – where the ‘Q-TAG’ is the primary mitigation for these learners.

Our expectation is that this functionality will be available towards the end of May. We thank you for your patience and understanding whilst we work as fast as we can to ensure this functionality is fully tested before being deployed.

Update to the BTEC Nationals in Engineering specifications (RQF) - issue 8

An updated version (issue 8) of the BTEC Nationals in Engineering (RQF) specification has been published and includes the following changes:

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Unit 16: Three Phase Electrical Systems Content and Assessment criteria for Learning aim C to replace ‘domestic’ with ‘industrial/commercial’ and clarify the wording in criterion C.D3.

Unit 19: Electronic Devices and Circuits Content for B3, Assessment criteria for Learning aim B and Essential information for assessment decisions section Learning aim B Distinction and Merit standard.

Unit 54: Aircraft Electrical and Instrument Systems Assessment criteria and Essential information for assessment decisions for Learning aim C to replace ‘assemble’ with ‘inspect’.

You can access the summary of changes in the initial pages of each specification and the above changes are sidelined in relevant pages.

Please note that the Authorised Assignment Briefs for these units are not yet updated. If you deliver these units, please adapt your assignment briefs with the most up to date information from the specification.

unit 57: Sustainable transport

Unit 58: Energy management

You can access the summary of changes in the initial pages of each specification and the above changes are sidelined in relevant pages.

Please note that the Authorised Assignment Briefs for these new units are not yet available.

On demand training for Engineering qualifications

We have on-demand 'Getting started' training videos for BTEC Nationals in Engineering, BTEC Tech Award in Engineering and the BTEC Specialist in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering. 

Access on-demand training here

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