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Tech-levels ´to have A-level status´

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Tech-levels will take as long to complete as A-Levels and will need to be endorsed by either a professional association or by five employers registered with Companies House. These qualifications will focus on hands-on practical training, leading to recognised occupations for example in engineering, computing, accounting or hospitality.

These qualifications will need backing from three universities to count in performance tables.

In addition, Applied General Qualifications will take the same time to complete as AS-levels and will focus on broader study of a technical area, not directly linked to an occupation.

These qualifications will need backing from three universities to count in performance tables.

A Tech-level along with a core maths qualification, for example AS-level maths, and an extended project will amount to an over-arching Technical Baccalaureate, says the government.

The shake-up comes after a review of vocational qualifications for the government by Prof Alison Wolf two years ago, which suggested that the current system was failing young people, with schools tempted to teach qualifications that attracted the most points in school performance tables.

This meant students were steered to take qualifications that might not help them into work or higher education, she suggested.

Gill Clipson, of the Association of Colleges, supported the call for qualifications to be approved by universities and businesses, but warned that "creating three separate ´routes´ which segregate qualifications into pre-determined categories with pre-determined destinations is too restrictive". 

She added: "It is unlikely to be the best way to give students the opportunity to choose the right mix of qualifications."

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