Invitation to join IfATE’s peer review register

Independent peer reviewers are being sought to review the content and assessment materials for apprenticeships and technical qualifications

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is looking for independent peer reviewerswith experience and understanding of UK employment and education structures. They are particularly looking for expertise in engineering and construction occupations to assist with work on T Levels and HTQs in 2021, as well as the follow up to the Engineering Route Review currently underway.

Contracted reviewers share their sector knowledge and experience and make sure qualifications meet the needs of employers and learners. They also receive a fee.

Criteria to become a peer reviewer
You should have occupational or academic expertise, largely in the UK, perhaps as a line manager, trainer or technical expert, with enthusiasm for developing people and qualifications. It may be helpful if you have encountered UK training or qualification specifications before, but this is not essential. Peer reviewers must not be members of active Trailblazer groups or comment on any qualification or apprenticeship they have been involved in developing.

The role of the peer reviewer
Peer reviewers use their experience and expertise to provide high quality comments on qualification and apprenticeship content. They focus on key quality criteria set by the Institute. A key focus is whether the learner would reach the level of occupational competence appropriate to the qualification and whether the proposed assessment would be valid and reliable. These comments inform the recommendations Institute officials make to the Institute’s Board as part of the approvals process. The peer reviewer’s comments are anonymised prior to distribution and the Institute protects the identity of its reviewers.

The workload for a peer reviewer who has a contract with the Institute is highly flexible and can range from one or two submissions up to several a year. Each review takes typically up to four hours (for which our contracted reviewers receive a fee). A review takes the form of answers to questions about the submission and seeks your views based on your experience.  You are asked to give examples to support your comments wherever possible.

What peer reviewers review:

Higher technical qualifications (HTQs)
In its July 2020 consultation response “Reforming Higher Technical Education” the Department for Education announced a new role for the Institute in ensuring higher level technical qualifications (HTQs, level 4 and 5) are high quality and meet employer needs.

The Institute’s delivery of this function will see the introduction of a new national approval scheme that recognises and clearly signals which level 4-5 qualifications provide the knowledge, skills and behaviours employers want. The Institute began with a range of digital HTQs (levels 4 and 5) and are continuing with construction and health & science qualifications later this year and are keen to recruit additional peer reviewers.

T Levels
In 2019 the Institute took on responsibility for developing and approving T Level qualifications which provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or an apprenticeship. These are new two-year courses of study which will follow GCSEs and are the equivalent to three A Levels (Level 3).

Both the outline content and the technical qualifications developed by an awarding organisation (AO) are approved by the Institute, and reviewed by peer reviewers, with the Institute’s route panels of employers having a central role in making sure that the qualifications will meet the needs of businesses and learners.

Apprenticeships
A core role of the Institute is to be the guardian of quality for apprenticeship standards and assessment plans (Levels 2-7). An apprenticeship standard describes an occupation and the knowledge, skills and behaviours that need to be developed to demonstrate full competence in that occupation and meets set criteria. Employers lead the development and the Institute manages the approval of apprenticeships, which includes peer review. Apprenticeships are evaluated through an end point assessment (EPA) which is also peer reviewed and is externally quality assured.

Route reviews
A statutory responsibility of the Institute is to regularly review the 15 occupational routes, and the individual standards within them, to make sure apprenticeship and technical education provision is high quality and that employer demand is being met.  The Institute is currently conducting reviews in several routes and further route reviews will follow.

To register your interest, or for more details, please email IFA.PeerReview@education.gov.uk.