Professional and vocational qualifications

Professional and vocational qualifications:
APL and student learner progression in the
context of Business and Management
education - a practitioner perspective.
Stephen Grady
University of Wolverhampton Business School
Lifelong Learning Network
• Initiative for 3 years to move under-represented students on
vocational (or work-related) courses (e.g. BTEC, City & Guilds, NVQ,
Apprentices, professional qualifications) into higher education –
‘widening participation’
• Why? Because traditionally 90% of students with A-Levels progress to
HE but only 50% (or lower) of vocational students
• Need for higher skilled people in the workplace – even in present
‘downturn’ and for possible recovery
• Creation of :
– Flexibility for learners
– Accreditation of employer in-house provision / co-funding
– Progression linked to credit e.g. in agreements
– Alignment of systems for transferability
– Exploring the FE/HE interface in terms of credit
Project Overview
Sponsored by the Birmingham Black Country and Solihull LLN;
Mapping of professional and vocational qualifications against a range of
general business and management, human resource management, and
marketing courses in both undergraduate and postgraduate portfolios;
Assigning APL credit for progression purposes;
Exploring possibility of building in ‘progression protocol’ – leading to
development of Progression Agreements;
More opportunities to bridge the Level 4 and 5 F/HE ‘divide’ as CMI and ILM
qualifications on QCF;
APL project – Phase 1: added-value by explicitly integrating QCF Units into the
formal mapping outcomes.
APL mapping project – two-phase initiative
• Phase-one (January-November 2009): relates to
students studying/holding ILM and CMI professional
qualifications and specifically for University of
Wolverhampton Business School;
• Following successful achievement of phase-one
outcomes, invited to bid for second phase and to lead a
consortium of FEC, training providers, and HEI providers
of business, management and professional studies
• Phase-two (November 2009-March 2011): project
extended to include other HEIs, training providers, other
vocational and professional qualifications, and dual
awarding possibilities
Phase-one of Project
• Focused on assessment of entry and credit entitlement
possibilities for students holding ILM and CMI professional
• Diploma level qualifications ranging from Level 3 to Level
• Robust model developed to ensure appropriate level of
mapping for students progressing from these
• Key principle was to recognise prior professional and
vocational qualifications, without compromising the
students’ ability to progress on higher level courses;
• Resultant outcome was an APL credit mapping matrix
(see handout);
• Embedded in a Progression Agreement with a number of
local FECs.
APL Project:
Procedural Framework
Credit mapping activity overseen by the CMI and ILM Project Leaders
Gain knowledge and understanding of the programmes to be mapped – consultation
with key facilitators and training of staff (Stage 1)
Mapping commences – consultation, input and endorsement from subject experts and
course leaders (Stage 2)
Finalisation of the mapping proposal, with detailed breakdown of the APL credit
entitlement and linkage to QCF Units (Stage 3)
Formal verification of the APL mapping by the APL Assessment Board, with
scrutiny and moderation by External Examiners (Stage 4)
Communication of decision to key stakeholders and development of Progression
Agreements (Stage 5)
Example of Mapping (1)
Professional Body
CMI Level 4 Diploma3
in Management
and Leadership
Module entitlement and CMI Units
of Study required for
accreditation to be granted
BA Business
15 General Credits, plus the two modules
listed below providing CMI (QCF)
units have been successfully
BA1018 (Learning for Business Success):
[5001], 4005
HR1014 (Introduction to People at Work):
[4001], 4004, 5012
Level 4 Diploma gives first year entry to
university award, plus additional
credit entitlement up to a maximum
of 45 credits (i.e. three first year 15
credit modules). The first year
modules against which APL can be
granted depends upon the mix of CMI
(QCF) units studied, as detailed in the
previous column.
In the case of the BA Business Joint course,
the only specific mapping is against
HR1014 which is a core option.
Successful claims against BA1018
would therefore be set against an
elective, as would the 15 general
In the case of the BA Enterprise Joint and
BA Marketing Joint, the maximum
number of credits that can be awarded
is 30 (15 general, plus 15 specific),
since there is no match against the
enterprise and marketing modules
respectively. These credits would be
set against electives. However, if
combined with Business up to 45
credits could be awarded.
BA Marketing
BA Business
BA Enterprise
BA Marketing
Example of Mapping (2)
Professional Body
Module entitlement and ILM Units
of Study required for accreditation
to be granted
ILM Level 4 Diploma8
in Leadership and
BA Business
BA Business
BA Marketing
BA Marketing
15 General Credits, plus any two of the
following modules providing ILM (QCF)
units have been successfully completed:
AC1138 (Business Accounting): M4.18,
M4.19, M5.14
BA1018 (Learning for Business Success):
[M4.03, M4.04], M4.02, M4.13
HR1014 (Introduction to People at Work):
[M3.10, M4.01], M4.07, M4.11
IB1000 (Quantitative Analysis): M4.21,
M4.23, M5.25
IB1002 (The Business Context): M4.22,
MK1016 (Principles of Marketing): M4.17,
M4.20, M5.21
Level 4 Diploma gives first year entry to
university award, plus additional credit
entitlement up to a maximum of 45
credits (i.e. three first year 15 credit
modules). The first year modules against
which APL can be granted depends upon
the mix of ILM (QCF) units studied, as
detailed in the previous column.
Phase 1 - Outcomes
Development of APL mapping matrix for professional
qualifications (see handout for detailed breakdown)
‘Mapping’ of CMI/ILM qualifications at Levels 3/4 and 5
and beyond
Clear progression route and ‘protocol’ from FE level
programmes to HE programmes
QCF as ‘frame of reference’ and ‘common currency’ to
enable systems to ‘talk to each other’
Robust and systematic - individuals/ groups gain credit
for prior qualifications (or parts of qualifications) re
F/HE progression
Aligns with HEFCE’s expectations for LLNs - clarity,
consistency and certainty for vocational learners
progressing from FE to HE
Phase 1 Outcomes continued
• Mutually beneficial to both FE colleges and HEIs
• Ensures that students come into HE courses at the
appropriate level and supports career
• Use of a ‘common language’ and common ‘currency’ –
help admissions staff determine appropriate routes for
• Tested with internal and external validation procedures at
the University
• Scaleable and transferable in its applicability to other
professional courses and programmes
Follow-up to phase-one
• Framework and model for development of Business and
Management Progression Agreements ‘underpinned by credit’
• Local seminar in summer 2009 with FECs for comments &
discussion - how useful is this work to them/students? Clear scope
for additional collaboration
• ‘Data-driven’ relationships with all FE institutions to identify demand
for new LLN subject areas i.e. Bus/Mgt/Prof
• Need to encourage open and transparent progression for learners
• Need to extend beyond professional body qualifications and apply to
more vocationally orientated qualifications e.g. BTECs, NVQs
• Potential to bring-in qualifications from other HEIs e.g. UCB
• Consortium-based partnership proposed to extend the benefits of
the phase-one initiative to the wider network
Phase-two of Project
• Relationships between training providers of ILM
and CMI professional qualifications and UWBS;
• Relationships between various providers of ILM
and CMI professional qualifications and other
HEIs in West Midlands;
• Credit mapping of other vocational and/or
professional qualifications (e.g. BTEC, NVQ,
Apprenticeships, CIM, CIPD) against UWBS
• Development of dual awarding possibilities.
Consortium of Partners
11 Further Education
6 Training Providers
2 (+2) HEIs
4790 student
learners on
management and
professional courses
covered by
Network of
LLN Steering Committee
Birmingham, Black Country and
Solihull LLN
Monitoring Meetings &
Progression Working Group
Training Providers:
Bastock Firth; Black Country
Training Group; Crackerjack
Training Ltd.; CSCM Learning; GB
Training; Ryton Management Centre
Higher Education Providers:
Further Education Colleges:
Birmingham Metropolitan College;
City College Birmingham;
Halesowen College; Sandwell
College; Solihull College; City of
Wolverhampton College; Bournville
College; Dudley College; South
Birmingham College; Stourbridge
College; Walsall College
University of Wolverhampton
University College, Birmingham
Aston University
APL Credit Mappings
and Progression
Agreements to facilitate
student learner
Birmingham City University
Open University
Phase-two Outcomes
• Further progression agreements have been developed to
reflect the outcomes of phase-two of the project;
• Started to develop IAG – Information, Advice and
Guidance – interventions, which communicate the key
benefits to staff, student learners and other stakeholders
(examples of actions/materials to be distributed);
• At the heart of the initiative are strong relationships with
collaborative partners to ensure that the needs of
student learners, career development and progression
possibilities can be fully realised.
Student Learner Numbers (at 22/11/10)
Student Learner Numbers
Access to HE Diploma
Advanced Apprenticeships
BTEC L3 National Cert/Diploma
NVQs L3 (excl. AAT L3)
NVQs L4 (excl. AAT L4)
HND/C Business
TOTAL Business Related
• Need to regularly update and maintain
mapping matrices;
• Amend promotional material accordingly;
• Maintenance of partner engagement in
promotion – IAG strategy/plan;
• Impact of LLN disengagement.
Any Questions?

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