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Last updateTue, 10 Dec 2019 2pm

Wales reforms construction qualifications

Major Shake-Up

A ground-breaking change to qualifications for people planning to work in the Construction and Built Environment sector in Wales has been announced. In the biggest shake-up to qualifications in the sector for a generation, a complex market with hundreds of existing qualifications will be simplified by eight new qualifications that will help reshape education and training for the industry in Wales.

Flexible Comprehension

The new qualifications will offer learners more flexible and comprehensive progression routes into employment. Assessment will be streamlined but more robust, making sure that young people have the skills and knowledge they need to get ahead in their careers.

Awarding Bodies

Qualifications Wales announced today that contracts have been awarded to a consortium of City & Guilds and EAL, both experienced awarding bodies in the sector, who will be working with the regulator to design and deliver post-16 Foundation, Progression and Apprenticeship qualifications.

"We're delighted to be awarding the contract for the development of new Construction and Built Environment qualifications for Wales to City & Guilds, working in partnership with EAL", said Qualifications Wales's Director of Qualifications Policy & Reform, Cassy Taylor.

"The Construction and Building Services sectors are large, diverse and a priority for Wales, and the new qualifications are being developed to meet the changing needs of the industry. They'll enable workers to understand the role of new technologies in the sector, but will also give them the ability to maintain and repair the traditional buildings and structures we have in Wales".

City & Guilds

Construction has been at the heart of City & Guilds Group since they were founded 140 years ago. They are really pleased to have won this joint bid in partnership with EAL to deliver qualifications for an industry that is so vital to the economic success of Wales.

Streamlined Approach

Qualifications Wales is leading the way in streamlining the approach to post-16 vocational qualifications and driving up standards, and we are pleased to be working together to develop qualifications that meet the needs of employers, learners and the wider community.


City & Guilds are also looking forward to building on the great relationship they've developed with Qualifications Wales through the City and Guilds/WJEC health and social care and childcare qualifications launching in September and taking standards to the next level to support vital skills development in Wales.

EAL Involvement

Alison Parkes, Managing Director of EAL, said: 

"As the leading specialist awarding organisation in engineering we are immensely proud, in partnership with City & Guilds, to have been appointed by Qualifications Wales to support them in the reshaping of the skills landscape for Construction and the Built Environment - a pivotal sector in the Welsh economy."

Vision & Expectations

EAL are especially looking forward to working with Qualifications Wales and key stakeholders, to bring their vision and expectations to life. Through the development of qualifications for these crucial and essential industries, they recognise the important part they play in the journey of those who wish to have a career in the sector.

Foundations Quals

The post-16 qualifications include an overarching Foundation qualification in Construction and the Built Environment, and Progression and Apprenticeship qualifications in Building Services Engineering and Construction. These will be available for first teaching from September 2021.

Sector Contributions

The introduction of the innovative new qualifications has been welcomed by industry leaders as providing learners with a broader knowledge of the industry as a whole. Sector representatives have already contributed to the development of the new qualifications, and will continue to support the development process.


Gareth Williams, Standards and Qualifications Policy Manager for the CITB in Wales, said: 

"As a stakeholder in the Construction and Built Environment review, CITB is looking forward to working with City & Guilds and EAL to develop new, up-to-date qualifications that will benefit both learners and the industry in Wales. The new qualifications will broaden learners’ horizons, by encouraging more employers to take an active role in developing the workforce of the future in Wales".

Civils Contractors

Ed Evans, Director of the Civil Engineering Contractors' Association for Wales, added,

"Qualifications Wales’s engagement with the sector has been really strong. That means that this starts to be led by the sector, rather than being led by educationalists."

New GCSE's & A Levels

In addition to the Foundation, Progression and Apprenticeship qualifications, Qualifications Wales is also working with WJEC to develop approval criteria for a new GCSE in the Built Environment for first teaching from September 2021, and an AS and A level in the Built Environment, which will be available for first teaching from September 2022.

How the changes came about

In February 2018, Qualifications Wales published Building the Future, a report on its 18-month review of qualifications in the construction and built environment sector. Together with a technical review of qualifications and an international comparison study, the review considered the views of learning providers and a range of professional and representative bodies, as well as more than 100 employers and over 900 learners.

On-going Work

Since October 2018, Qualifications Wales has been working with sector bodies, employers, specialists, further education and work-based learning providers to identify how new qualifications can best address the needs of both learners and employers.

More information about this work can be found on the Qualifications Wales website.

What this means for learners

Most of the new qualifications will be available for learners to take from September 2021. The new A level will be available from September 2022. Learners who have already started a course will complete the qualifications that they have already signed up for. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions on the Qualifications Wales website for more details.

Further information

Please contact: Helen Lowcock James, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 01633 373304 / 07464 543624

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DfMA at the forefront

As Off-Site construction matures into Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) it is clearly at the forefront as an enabler for such delivery. New homes will very soon be 'Smart' in numerous ways, including full incorporation of energy saving and TIoT (the internet of things) to deliver major components. This is something that 'Off-Site'. DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) will need to seriously consider as the industry moves forward. 

Collaborative Partnering

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Resistance Disappearing

While resistance to the change to DfMA has been the norm, the wish of most UK Builders to deliver excellent customer service and top notch homes is now driving an increasing number to choose Off-Site for their developments. Also, as 'OffSite Hub' note, architects and designers are moving toward DfMA, something w have been encouraging for over 20 years. The emergence of LA Developers will only speed up this process.

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