Government gives College Prestigious Mark of Approval

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City College Plymouth is one of just 13 colleges and universities in the UK to win special government approval for one or more of its courses.

The College’s Foundation Degree in Software Development is one of 30 level 4 and level 5 courses in the country to be recognised as a Higher Technical Qualification, with approval given to courses that meet a strict set of occupational standards.

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQ) are a new initiative that will improve the quality of level 4 and 5 qualifications and the mark of approval is only granted after a course has been rigorously assessed by a panel of experts at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

This new HTQ mark of approval, which will be officially instated from 2022, is testament to the College’s innovative approach to teaching and learning and recognises the College’s close employer links. City College is the only provider in the city to run a course that is to be given HTQ status.

Chief Executive and Principal of City College, Jackie Grubb, said: “To be awarded this prestigious mark is testament to the successful partnerships we have established with our partner organisations who have been so crucial in the development of our curriculum.

“Collaboration with employers is a fundamental part of the College’s new strategic intent that will see City College become the learning destination of choice. As the digital revolution continues to change how we live and work, we will also continue to develop the skills we pass onto our students, enabling them to positively contribute to the local economy.”

Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, said: “I am delighted that the Institute has announced the first set of approved Higher Technical Qualifications.

“These digital qualifications are the next step in our reforms to technical education designed to improve the quality and choice of options for learners and employers. For the first time, learners and employers will know which digital level 4 and 5 qualifications map to employer-led standards for specific roles – a great option for students aged 18-plus and adults looking to retrain or upskill. Congratulations to the successful qualifications, and I look forward to learners and employers experiencing the benefits of this new approach.”

Higher Technical Qualifications are just one of several government initiatives that are overhauling technical education to see the UK developing its training in key areas and helping to reduce the skills shortage currently facing some industries.

The Foundation Degree in Software Development was the first City College course to be submitted for approval as a Higher Technical Qualification, with other courses due to be put forward to the Institute. Those studying computing and digital-related courses at the College benefit from learning from one of the UK’s most highly qualified FE lecturing teams and high levels of investment into state-of-the-art equipment, such as an NVIDIA DGX-1 and high-spec computers available to all.

Find out about studying software development or other computing-related courses online at