Vocational qualifications

Vocational qualifications make up a large proportion of qualifications taken in Wales and there’s a wide range on offer in schools, colleges and work-based learning settings. Different assessment approaches are required for different types of vocational qualifications to reflect their nature and purpose.

For 2021, vocational qualifications fit into three broad categories:


Vocational qualifications (VQs) that are similar to an A level or GCSE

Qualifications such as BTECs, WJEC Vocational Awards and Applied Certificates and Diplomas or the new Health and Social Care: Principles and Contexts qualifications will be awarded a Centre Determined Grade based on a range of assessment information, in the same way as GCSEs and A Levels. You should receive your final results no later than those learners studying for A levels and GCSEs) (on 10 and 12 August). Provisional Centre Determined Grades will not be issued for vocational qualifications.

Vocational qualifications that are not similar to GCSE or A level but are used for progression to further study or employment

Assessments for these qualifications can continue where it’s safe to do so, remotely or in person. Adaptations that have been put in place will still be available. If you can’t take the assessment when planned, then alternative arrangements will be available to give you every chance to progress and your centre will keep you informed. This applies to Essential Skills Wales qualifications.

Vocational qualifications that require learners to demonstrate practical or occupational competency

In subjects such as, plumbing, construction, performing arts or hairdressing, where practical skills are being assessed, these should continue as normal using adaptations and in line with Welsh Government’s operational guidance. In some cases, your assessment may need to be delayed until it can be carried out safely in line with public health guidance. Your centre will give you advice and information. 

For more information, please visit Ofqual’s Summer 2021 Qualification Explainer Tool. This shows what's happening with vocational, technical, and other general qualifications across Wales, England and NI this year.