Reviewing Vocational Qualifications


Vocational qualifications make up over 90% of the regulated qualifications available in Wales and should reflect the skills that employers need. Our sector reviews form the backbone of our work with vocational qualifications, allowing us to focus on qualifications within particular employment sectors.

With every sector review we undertake, our aim is to:

  • understand the qualifications landscape
  • hear stakeholders’ views on the qualifications and the qualifications system
  • decide whether we should take (or recommend that others take) action to improve qualifications or the system.

For some larger sectors, we also aim to:

  • consider whether the qualifications and the wider system are technically effective and fit for purpose
  • learn lessons from the qualifications systems of other nations.

Each sector review is different; the outcomes of one review are not necessarily the outcomes of the next. 

Review process

When undertaking each of the reviews, we usually:

  • interview a wide range of stakeholders - including employers, sector bodies, work-based learning providers, further education institutions and schools
  • set up stakeholder panels to assist and advise us
  • encourage individuals to share their opinions with us through surveys
  • conduct technical reviews of qualifications - including looking at learners’ work
  • undertake desk-based international comparison studies.

Phase 2 reviews

Our initial sector reviews highlighted some cross-cutting themes, and these have been used as a focus for what we call Phase 2 reviews.

Phase 2 sector reviews are shorter than our full reviews - normally taking up to 12 months - and are focussed:

  • assessing the current, and likely future, availability of qualifications in key sectors - for use on full-time post-16 further education courses, sixth form schools and apprenticeships
  • identifying the need for and maximising the availability of Welsh-medium vocational qualifications.

Review programme

Due out soon:


Future reviews:

Essential Skills Wales 

Essential Skills qualifications are an integral part of post-16 learning and apprenticeship programmes in Wales and we are keen to ensure they remain valued and worthwhile qualifications. The aim of the review is to gather evidence on the overall fitness for purpose of the Essential Skills Wales suite of qualifications, to identify any issues and to consider what changes or reforms may be required to ensure these qualifications continue to meet our principal aims.