The suite of GQA qualifications are written for the Industry and by the Industry. The feedback we receive from candidates and GQA Approved Centres tells us the qualifications are relevant, meaningful, easy to understand and at the same time challenging.
GQA Qualification Development
GQA is rightly proud of the expertise and knowledge within our team of External Verifiers and Technical team; across the team there is a great deal of experience in their own Industry and qualification delivery but each EV has at least one “specialism”.
Although as you can see GQA make every effort to ensure our qualifications are fit for purpose and meet the needs of Industry, we are constantly looking for improvements and suggestions to widen the range of qualifications available and the uptake of them.
GQA Recent Activity
GQA continues to look to improve the relevance and range of qualifications available to its Approved Centres.
There are a number of qualifications in the early stages of development following requests from both Employers and Centres from the Construction, Print and Glass Industries. A number of Centres have been involved in consultations during the development process.
GQA Level 1 Certificate in the Principles of Window and Door Installation (QCF)
GQA Level 2 Diploma for the preparation and use of Compact Cranes in a Glass or Glass Related Working Environment (QCF)
GQA Level 2 Award for Fenestration Installation Competency Update (QCF)
GQA Level 4 Diploma in Occupational Leadership in a Glass or Glass Related Working Environment (QCF)
GQA Level 2 Certificate in Removing Non-hazardous Wastes (Construction) (QCF)
GQA Level 3 Diploma in the Combined Surveying and Installation of Windows and Doors or Conservatories (QCF)
GQA Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Controlling Lifting Operations – Slinger/Signaller (Construction) (QCF)
GQA Level 2 NVQ Certificate In Concrete Segment Production (QCF)
GQA Level 2 Certificate In Knowledge of Construction Operations (General Construction)(QCF)
Many Centres have contributed to the qualification development processes over the last 12-18 months. The contribution has been attending, and even hosting, qualification development meetings and due to the logistics many Centres have contributed by e-mail and telephone.
Centres involved include:
• Axia Solutions
• B&J Assessment Services
• CTSGlass and Glazing Federation
• IPS International
• IVS Training and Assessment Ltd
• Leeds College of Building
• Manchester College School of Printing
• Mobile Windscreens
• National Windscreens
• North Lancs Training Group
• PM Training
• RT Resources
• Schueco Skill Centre
• The Fenestration College
• Vocational College
• West Suffolk College
How GQA Work
The idea of adding to or amending the suite of qualifications can come from a range of sources; Employers, Industry Federations, GQA Centres, our own EQAs, Sector Skills Councils or the Standards Setting Bodies. Sometimes it is because existing qualifications are not really suitable for the intended Industries, so an additional unit or pathway needs to be added to an existing qualification. This has recently been the case with, for example the GQA Fabrication qualification; by adding an extra unit the qualification has widened the number of potential candidates.
There are parts of the Industries we work with that have never had a specific qualification so an entirely new qualification might be thought necessary. Recent examples of this include the Glass and Glass Related Distribution and Warehousing Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications; a number of GQA Centres were delivering a generic warehouse qualification but have now switched to these more relevant qualifications.
All qualifications have a review or expiry date; this review will help to identify any potential changes or if there is sufficient demand to renew/update the qualification.
For details of current qualifications and those in development visit the GQA qualifications page.
This is often difficult, sometimes very difficult. For existing GQA qualifications the data is there; we can see numbers of registrations and achievers over time and look at trends in numbers.
For a potential new qualification, determining demand is tricky; potential interest has to be there to initiate any research but until there is some detail to discuss with Centres and possible candidates it is difficult to get commitment.
As a specialist Awarding Organisation we do not only work with high volume qualifications; some qualifications have always had low uptake but we support our Industries wherever possible, so GQA will develop qualifications for smaller numbers than most Awarding Organisations would consider.
The format and content of qualifications and units have to adhere to strict quality control guidelines laid down by the Regulatory Authorities and to ensure this the process is normally led by the Head of Qualifications Development and Delivery, but of course we need Industry specialists to provide the technical input. A number of persons happy to contribute to the development are known to GQA and this pool of talent is a key factor in getting the qualifications right. We also keep other interested parties such as Standards Setting Bodies and Sector Skills Councils informed of our progress. Industry specific meetings are another way to get involvement from some of the groups the qualifications are written for.
If you would like to know more and possibly contribute to the process see the “Get involved” section of the website.
Where possible the GQA Head of Qualifications Development and Delivery will produce draft units and these will be reviewed and discussed at a number of meetings; this has proved a more efficient way of getting the project moving than starting with a blank piece of paper. It may be that the draft units only need slight alterations to arrive at the final draft, more often the draft units are merely a springboard for the development and many final drafts bear little resemblance to the originals. To save time and costs reviews and revisions are also done by e-mail and telephone conferences between meetings.
Once the working party is happy with the units these are put out for wider consultation to Industry, GQA Centres and EQAs with a relevant background or interest.
Comments are reviewed and discussed. Amended units are then sent out for consultation. This process is followed until agreement is reached.
The same process is followed to determine the level and credit value of units and also the make-up of the qualification; i.e. mandatory and optional units and total credit value of the qualification; this is known as developing the Rules of Combination.
GQA will be carrying out its own Quality Assurance checks throughout the development process and a final internal QA check will be made before seeking approval from the Regulatory Authorities.
Once the qualification development process is complete the next step is to submit it to the Regulatory Authorities for approval. The Regulators will carry out their own quality assurance checks to ensure the units and qualifications meet their criteria. As GQA has submitted a good number of qualifications and has a robust internal QA process there are rarely any issues with submissions but as we are only human we do make the odd mistake! If there is a need for anything to be amended the Regulators will advise GQA of the matter and these will be quickly resolved and re-submitted. Once the Regulatory Authorities are happy they will inform us the submission is complete and the qualification is approved.
Eligibility for Funding
This is one part of the qualification development and approval process where we have no control. The world of funding is ever changing and we do work to the current guidelines on getting our new qualifications added to the list of funded qualifications. This may require evidence of support and demand from Industry so we need Centres to support us in obtaining this when it is required.
Of course the need to keep information flowing is important for a variety of reasons. The information is made available through a range of mediums including the GQA Website, GQA Newsletter, Twitter and Blog. EQAs will make Centres aware of the progress in qualification development. It is of course essential that we balance the need to keep Industry and Centres informed and the need to ensure our qualifications are not picked up and used by predatory Awarding Organisations who allow GQA to do all the hard work and then offer the product as though it was their own.
It is of course essential that we keep Industry and Centres informed but we are aware of the competitive aspect of qualification development and availability brought about by the introduction of QCF and so it is not always in our best interests to make the information on what we are working on too readily available.
Once the qualification is approved GQA Centres will have access to information on the qualification including standards books and summary pages.
As you would expect from an Awarding Organisation, GQA has a robust approval process for those seeking approval to offer its qualifications. This is essential to ensure the Centre has the infrastructure, resources and understanding of qualification delivery to meet the required standards. A key factor in this is that anyone seeking to be involved in the assessment or Internal Verification/Internal Quality Assurance of GQA qualifications must have the required occupational background and experience to carry out the role effectively.
Clarification on this can be obtained from GQA by emailing to:-
If having a chance to shape the qualifications for your Industry sounds like something you are interested in then please get in touch and we will contact you to discuss the matter further and possibly add you to the pool of expertise we feel helps make GQA qualifications fit for purpose. As a rough guide, the typical involvement in developing a qualification may mean 2 or 3 ½ day meetings and a few hours on email or phone consultation over approximately a 3 month period. We do not pay for the time of those attending the meetings as we have to finance the whole development process ourselves but hope you feel the chance to have input into the content of qualifications for your industry make this worthwhile use of your time.
Please email your interest and contact details to:-