First and foremost, we are a regulator, established through legislation.
Our core purpose is set out within Part 2 of the Qualifications Wales Act (2015) which specifies our principal aims and, therefore, our mission:
- ‘ensuring that qualifications, and the qualification system, are effective for meeting the reasonable needs of learners in Wales;
- promoting public confidence in qualifications and the Welsh qualification system.’
In doing this, we will consider what is appropriate for the purpose of achieving our principal aims, the matters to which Qualifications Wales is to have regard include (among other things) -
(a) the desirability of promoting sustainable growth in the Welsh economy;
(b) the desirability of promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language, including through the availability of assessment arrangements that provide for assessment through the medium of the Welsh language, and of qualifications that otherwise promote or facilitate the use of the Welsh language;
(c) the range and nature of qualifications available, and of their assessment arrangements;
(d) the reasonable requirements of employers, higher education institutions and the professions regarding education and training (including as to required standards of practical competence);
(e) whether the knowledge, skills and understanding required to be demonstrated for the purpose of determining whether a person is to be awarded a qualification reflect current knowledge and best practice;
(f) whether qualifications indicate a consistent level of attainment with that indicated by whatever Qualifications Wales considers to be comparable qualifications, whether awarded in Europe or elsewhere;
(g) whether qualifications are provided efficiently and so as to secure value for money;
(h) the respective roles played by, and responsibilities of, each of the following persons in respect of the Welsh qualification system (including by reference to co-operation between those persons, and their effectiveness in performing their roles):
(i) awarding bodies, learning providers, Qualifications Wales and the Welsh Ministers;
(ii) any other persons exercising functions that Qualifications Wales considers relevant for the purpose of the Welsh qualification system.
Our role is broader than that of a conventional qualifications regulator. For example, we have powers to commission new qualifications and to restrict the range of qualifications offered, and we support Welsh-language assessment and the qualifications system by issuing grants. We have an interest in the potential for innovation within qualifications and the qualifications system to meet future requirements, which means that we both seek opportunities to be innovative ourselves, and wish to be supportive of awarding bodies when they innovate.
This extended role has many benefits, but when undertaking this type of work, we will always consider the potential impact on our core regulatory role.