Qualifications Wales announces exciting new range of qualifications

Following a public consultation, Qualifications Wales has published its decisions on the types of qualifications that will be available to 14 to 16 year-olds - alongside new Made-for-Wales GCSEs.

Following a public consultation, Qualifications Wales has published its decisions on the types of qualifications that will be available to 14 to 16 year-olds - alongside new Made-for-Wales GCSEs.

The changes which will shape the qualifications landscape for secondary school learners across the country, will see the introduction of new work-related VCSEs (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education) as well as new skills-based qualifications.

This will provide all secondary learners with an innovative, exciting, inclusive and challenging new qualifications offer that meets the aims and purposes of the Curriculum for Wales.

By 2027, along with new Made-for-Wales GCSEs, learners in Wales aged 14-16 will be able to choose from:

  • VCSEs (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education)
  • Foundation qualifications
  • Skills for Life and Skills for Work qualifications
  • Personal Project qualification

Cassy Taylor, Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform at Qualifications Wales, commented:

“This exciting range of Made-for-Wales qualifications, together with the new GCSEs that are already in development, represents the biggest transformation of 14-16 qualifications in a generation. It will mean that all learners, whatever their interest, aptitude or ability, will be able to gain recognition and reward for what they know, understand and can do. Armed with these new qualifications, they’ll be able to progress from the Curriculum for Wales to the next stage of learning and form a basis for their own personal success.”

Ben Cottam, Head of Wales for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: 

“Developing skills for the future is of the upmost importance for the future workforce and economy in Wales. Small businesses consistently raise access to skills as a barrier to growth. Our research tells us that closer links between providers, the business community, and teaching institutions, can really benefit learner outcomes, as well as supporting businesses in harnessing the right skills to grow, and thus bolstering local economies. 

It is our hope that the new National 14-6 Qualifications offer will go some way to improve choices for learners. By supplementing the curriculum with real-life experiences and interactions with small businesses within the local community, these qualifications will help learners to progress in life, learning and work.” 

Learner Advisory Group member, Poppy, commented:

“This range of qualifications is incredible. When I think back to the first meetings we were having and what my peers have said about the lack of options and the things that really matter to them, it just feels that we have really been listened to and it’s been put into action, which I really appreciate. Just seeing the development of these qualifications is great and how it will play out in practice is really exciting.”


The consultation for these new qualifications was held between March and June 2023, and attracted a wide range of views from more than 500 stakeholders, including learners, parents, teachers, awarding bodies and colleges.

Qualifications Wales analysed the consultation responses and engaged further with its key stakeholders, before announcing the decisions that have resulted in the establishment of a set of new Made-for-Wales National 14-16 Qualifications, all of which will be in place by September 2027.

Details of the new qualifications

Skills Qualifications
A new suite of Skills for Work and Skills for Life qualifications will be developed, from entry level to level 2. Appealing to employers and learners alike, these qualifications will offer a ground-breaking range of units covering the skills needed by young people as they progress through life and work in modern society. These include first aid, financial literacy, food preparation, sustainability, interview techniques, enterprise venture and many more. 

Project qualification
A new project-based qualification assessing integral skills listed in the Curriculum will be introduced, known as the Personal Project qualification. Available from entry level to level 2, it will allow every learner to study a topic of their choice, independently and in-depth, to achieve the qualification.

Work-related qualifications
New work-related qualifications will be launched, entitled Vocational Certificates of Secondary Education (VCSEs). VCSEs will be assessed at both level 1 and level 2 similar to GCSEs. It will be an important new type of qualification enabling young people to learn about occupational areas through a more practical approach to learning and assessment.

Foundation qualifications
Foundation qualifications will be introduced to enable learners to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to take the next steps towards post-16 learning. A range of entry level/level 1 qualifications will complement VCSEs and GCSEs, allowing learners to progress at the right level for them. Foundation qualifications in the GCSE space will be available in traditional subjects, while those in the VCSE space will be in work-related subjects.