Introducing a new awarding organisation with a difference

Posted on 15 Aug 2015 by The Manufacturer

Occupational Awards Ltd – a wholly-owned trading subsidiary of Proskills UK and a new regulated Awarding Organisation – has announce that its first batch of industry focused qualifications have been approved by Ofqual and are now available to approved centres for delivery.

There is a general acceptance that change is the only constant in vocational education, and that certainly seems to be the case at a policy level.

Occupational Awards Ltd (OAL)
Occupational Awards Ltd (OAL)

This year we will see yet another national qualifications framework launched, continued implementation of the new “trailblazer” apprenticeship qualifications, and still more cuts in the public funds allocated to colleges and training providers.

All of this movement will continue to disrupt delivery in the sector for employers and learners, even if some of the changes look likely to work out for the better in the longer term.

However, there is one thing that does stay the same:  the need for quality assurance in the skills and training system.

Without quality assurance, learners have no idea whether the training they choose is the right way for them to progress in their careers.

Employers can’t know if the skills that are taught to their people are the right ones to improve their business. And nobody can tell if training providers are delivering what they say they will deliver.

The companies with responsibility for quality assurance in the UK are known as Awarding Organisations, and they are regulated by Ofqual.

Awarding Organisations are private companies that develop and certificate regulated qualifications. They also approve training providers to deliver to the learners, carrying out moderation and audits to make sure that training delivery is up to standard.

The first tranche of Occupational Awards’ industry focused qualifications are:

  • OAL Level 1 Award In Principles of Health and Safety in the Workplace (QCF)
  • OAL Level 2 Award In Health and Safety in the Workplace (QCF)
  • OAL Level 3 Award In Health and Safety in the Workplace (QCF)
  • OAL Level 3 Diploma In Occupational Health and Safety (QCF)
  • OAL Level 2 Award In Risk Assessment (QCF)
  • OAL Level 5 Diploma In Occupational Health and Safety Practice (QCF)
  • OAL Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Producing Wood Fuel
  • OAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Furniture and Wood Processing Technician (CNC Machining)
  • OAL Level 3 Award in Behavioural Safety in the Workplace
  • OAL Level 3 Award in Managing Contractors to Ensure Compliance with Health and Safety
  • OAL Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement
  • OAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Furniture and Wood Processing
  • OAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Managing Wood Fuel Production
  • OAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Wood Products Manufacturing
  • OAL Level 4 Award in Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

However, the system doesn’t always work as it should. Many employers find it difficult to find or develop qualifications through some of the established Awarding Organisations due to overly bureaucratic processes and poor timeliness during the development stages.

Many training providers find it difficult to deliver existing qualifications as some existing Awarding Organisations do not provide the level of support and customer service needed.

Some employers cannot find any qualifications to match their skills needs, particularly in niche or specialist areas where existing Awarding Organisations do not see sufficient profit to justify development.

Occupational Awards Ltd is a new Awarding Organisation from Proskills UK Group that will seek to right these wrongs.

Our aims are to support employers, training providers and learners all the way through the process from development to certification. We provide employer-led qualifications, training products and services where industries and learners are currently underserved or unserved by existing organisations, helping to ensure all employers can access the best training.

Our customer service team have already won awards for the support they’ve given providers and employers during apprenticeship administration, and we’ll use the same customer-led approach to supporting people through our new regulated qualifications.

We’ll also help to interpret policy changes in a clear and understandable way, so that everybody understands the changes and what they mean for learners, employers and providers.

And to top it all off, the money spent through Occupational Awards Ltd won’t be going to shareholders or otherwise leaving the sector.

We believe that it is essential to help young people understand manufacturing processes in order to ensure a steady stream of talent in the future.

For this reason, any profits made through Occupational Awards’ manufacturing qualifications will be used to improve education about the world of work for young people through the development of careers materials and the Schools into Industry Programmes administered by the registered charity Proskills UK.

Our first set of qualifications in manufacturing and health and safety are now available.  If you’d like to find out more about what Occupational Awards can do for you, do get in touch today at

Would you like to discover ways in which your businesses can gain higher productivity by focusing on your workforce needs?

The Manufacturer’s National Skills Conference – in partnership with The Manufacturing Technology Centre – will provide a forum to discuss the skills issue currently affecting all aspects of British manufacturing.

This inaugural event offers the opportunity to make changes throughout industry and wider partners, exploring best practice methods and innovative thinking to promote building capacity to drive business performance.

15 – 16 October, 2015 : Antsy Park, Coventry