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Advanced Technical Award

What is an Advanced Technical Award (AdvancedTech)?

AdvancedTechs are new Level 3 (A Level equivalent) vocational courses aimed at young people who have completed GCSEs. Launched in September 2021, AdvancedTechs have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work, further training or study.  We recognise that qualifications by themselves are not enough in preparing young people for entering the world of work or for progressing to higher level study. The AdvancedTech award brings together a number of key components that make up this new and exciting programme of learning.

AdvancedTechs include the following elements:

A work based qualification equating to 3 A Levels , which includes:

  • knowledge content, concepts and skills for an industry area
  • specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career
  • Project Based Learning - working in partnership with local employers, Colleges will design authentic business focused projects that are engaging and complex questions, problems or challenges;
  • Development of T skills (transversal or soft skills)
  • A structured industry placement with an employer - this placement will be used to further embed the practical and technical skills required for the occupation. These will last for a minimum of 200 hours (approximately 30 days).

Students will also be required to undertake literacy and numeracy classes should they have not already achieved GCSE grade A*-C in Maths and English.

Who are AdvancedTechs aimed at?

  • AdvancedTechs will be more suited to students who know what occupation or industry they want to move in to.
  • AdvancedTechs are a brand-new, 2-year qualification that young people or adults can do as an alternative to A levels, other post-16 courses or an apprenticeship. They bring classroom learning and industry practice together on a course designed with industry for industry.
  • AdvancedTechs are ideal for those who complete GCSEs and want the knowledge and experience to get straight into employment, an Apprenticeship or Higher Education.
  • Students will typically spend 80% of their time in college and 20% on a placement with an employer to further develop skills and knowledge.
  • An AdvancedTech takes 2 years of full-time study and is equivalent to 3 A levels and attracts UCAS points.
  • The first 6 AdvancedTechs are now available at Further education Colleges in Northern Ireland, with more coming in the following years.
  • AdvancedTechs are delivered only through the regional Colleges of Further Education.

Employer Support

An Employer Guide to Advanced Technical Awards is now available which provides information on the AdvancedTechs components, range of AdvancedTechs, and how employers can support the delivery of this new and innovative vocational programme.


For further information please contact:
Sean McAleese, Training Manager
028 2566 4266 or 07554 118467
sean.mcaleese@nrc.ac.uk