HTQs are a highly anticipated alternative route to a degree, which respond to technical skills gaps in industries, education-access barriers and the need for more employment-specific, practical approaches to technical education. They have been developed following the Department of Education’s Higher Technical Education Reforms and related government papers in 2020.
“Our vision is for [Higher Technical Education] to be a prestigious choice that provides high levels of occupational competence, encourages more learners to continue to study after completing Level 3 qualifications like A levels or T Levels and attracts workers of all ages looking to upskill and retrain” - Department for Education
Collaboratively designed by the government, education bodies, employers and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, HTQs are recognised as Level 4 and 5 qualifications with unique employment insight and opportunity. They sit between A levels, T Levels and degrees, acting as a bridge towards employment or a degree.
Leeds is one of first to offer
The first HTQs are available to study from September, with more starting in 2023 and increasing over the next four years. University Centre Leeds is currently one of the few education providers in the country to offer the qualification.
Janet Faulkner, Dean of Higher Education at University Centre Leeds, said: “The HTQ accreditation is an endorsement of the quality of our courses. The approval process is rigorous and not only ensures the calibre of our courses but also that they meet employer needs.”
What makes a Higher Technical Qualification course special?
HTQs offer the best of both apprenticeships and degrees, giving students the control to decide whether they want to enter employment or study further on completion. Like an apprenticeship, HTQs have the same employer-designed standards and practical focus, yet their classroom-based learning gives added flexibility and scope to explore alternate specialisms.
Delivered by diverse education providers and in some cases, awarded to existing degree-equivalent courses, HTQs open the door to learners of all backgrounds, ages and employment or education statuses, including people who never clicked with conventional study methods.
As written in the ‘Reforming Higher Technical Education Government consultation response’, HTQs mean:
Better access to improved, accurate IAG* so you can make an informed choice about your future
Flexibility and potential support to enable you to complete your course alongside other commitments
*(information, advice, guidance)
What HTQs are on offer at University Centre Leeds?
Last year, University Centre Leeds became Yorkshire’s first educational institution to achieve HTQ status for some courses. Building on this and their established STEM departments, their courses answer skill gaps and in-demand roles, while expanding who can access them by working closely with the region’s best employers.
University Centre Leeds currently offers:
Cybersecurity Technologist HTQ Data Analyst HTQ Network Engineer HTQ Software Developer HTQ Software Tester HTQ Healthcare Assistant Practitioner HTQ Health Play Specialist HTQ Sport Coach HTQ
Each course directly links students with employment, providing the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to succeed in their chosen career. The rigorous HTQ course selection determines wider course benefits to regional and national communities, economies and industries while supporting industry diversity, intergenerational skill sharing, specialist knowledge preservation and high-paid, in-demand careers for students.
Tim Balmforth, Head of HE Digital/STEM at UC Leeds, said: “The latest LEP labour market report has highlighted a shortage of core technical skills, and more specifically, a shortage of software developers and testers, support specialists and web developers. Data analyst, network engineering and cyber security jobs are also on the increase locally and nationally. Our HTQs are designed to equip our students with these in-demand skills.”
Applications for September 2022 are still open. You can find out more by visiting ucleeds.ac.uk/higher-technical-qualifications.