Changes to the regulation of Vocational Qualifications in Northern Ireland

On 25th January 2016 OCN NI received communication from Ofqual and CCEA Accreditation to inform us about changes to how vocational qualifications will be regulated in Northern Ireland.

As you may already know, there are currently two qualifications regulators in Northern Ireland: Ofqual, which regulates vocational qualifications and CCEA Accreditation, which regulates general qualifications (i.e. GCSE’s & A Levels). These arrangements were put in place in 2010 as Ofqual was established, with a review scheduled so that the Northern Ireland Government could consider long-term arrangements.

Following a review of current arrangements, the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) in Northern Ireland intends to move to a single Northern Ireland-based qualifications regulator. CCEA Accreditation will become the single qualifications regulator. DEL and the Department for Education in Westminster are seeking to amend the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act to remove Ofqual’s statutory responsibilities to regulate vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. The aim is to do this by 1 April 2016, subject to Parliament passing the necessary legislative amendments.

Vocational Qualifications

So what does this mean for OCN NI Centres?
OCN NI have met with both DEL and CCEA Accreditation and has been satisfied with their responses to operational issues which could impact on Centres.  Ofqual and CCEA Accreditation are working together with DEL to make sure that the necessary transition arrangements are put in place. Their aim is to ensure a smooth and orderly transition to protect the interests of learners and others who rely on regulated qualifications.

OCN NI have created a list of Questions and answers which centres can read by clicking here.  In addition, OCN NI will be attending further meetings with DEL, Ofqual and CCEA Accreditation and will ensure OCN NI centres are kept updated with relevant information.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the changes to the regulation of Vocational Qualifications in Northern Ireland please contact

Questions on the Regulation of Vocational Qualifications