Support our Nation today - please donate here

New vocational and skills-based qualifications launched for teenagers in Wales

30 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Photo by Vance Osterhout on Unsplash

New vocational and skills-based qualifications for 14 to 16-year-olds are to be introduced in Wales, it has been announced.

The regulator, Qualifications Wales, said a new work-related Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education (VCSE) is being launched.

By September 2027, students will be able to choose from the new VCSEs, foundation qualifications, skills for life and skills for work qualifications and a personal project qualification.

Cassy Taylor, from Qualifications Wales, said: “This exciting range of made-for-Wales qualifications, together with the new GCSEs that are already in development, represents the biggest transformation of 14 to 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.”


Laura Doel, national director for NAHT Cymru, said: “We welcome this new suite of qualifications which will undoubtedly be of benefit to young people who thrive in vocational subjects.

“The existing vocational qualifications were in need of review and now we have an opportunity to develop something in Wales that truly meets the needs of our learners.

“However, there are concerns about the workload implications for schools, how these qualifications and GCSEs will interlink with the New Curriculum for Wales, and their suitability in meeting the needs of students who move to other parts of the UK to study or work.”

Ben Cottam, from the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “Small businesses consistently raise access to skills as a barrier to growth.

“It is our hope that the new national 14 to 16 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.”

The work-related VCSE will be assessed at level 1 and level 2 and enable young people to learn about occupational areas through a more practical approach to learning and assessment.

Foundation qualifications will be introduced to enable students to move to post-16 learning and a range of qualifications will complement VCSEs and GCSEs.

Foundation qualifications linked to GCSEs will be available in traditional subjects, while those close to VCSEs will be in work-related subjects.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Smith
David Smith
4 months ago

What was wrong with a widely understood and accepted college based quality BTec National Diploma? Further diminution of vocational qualifications?

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
4 months ago
Reply to  David Smith

These new 14-16 vocational qualifications are only there so that the schools can farm out the less academically able pupils to the local FE College and thus increase the pass rate for the GCSE pupils by not entering the less academically able pupils for GCSEs.

Also, note how these new qualifications are referred to as VSCEs not GCSEs, they still can’t bring themselves to give vocational qualifications parity with academic qualifications.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.