The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has slammed government proposals to reform level 2 and below provision – which AELP believes will lead to a ‘bonfire of qualifications’.


Level 2 and below qualifications are often the first step in a life-changing journey towards employment and higher levels of education for learners. They also play an important part in supporting employers – especially small and medium-sized enterprises- which make up the majority of the business community in the UK. Many key parts of the economy, such as construction, adult social care, hospitality, and tourism, rely heavily on workers qualified at Level 2.

Officials claim the current landscape is “confusing” with around 8,000 qualifications available at these levels, many of which cover the same or similar subjects. That figure includes nearly 5,000 qualifications that have already been identified for funding removal because they have low or no enrolments, or on the list of excluded qualifications above. It leaves around 3,200 ‘in-scope’ qualifications which have just under 600,000 enrolments in this review.

An impact assessment report from the Department for Education (DfE) shows it estimates that 72 per cent (c.1,530) of ‘in-scope’ level 2 qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds, 61 per cent (c.1,290) of ‘in-scope’ level 2 qualifications for adults, and 57 per cent (c.640) of ‘in scope’ level 1 and entry qualifications face being axed. The DfE estimates that for seven awarding organisations, 80 per cent or more of their public funded enrolments at level 2 and below are likely to be affected by the withdrawal of funding approval.

The consultation phase of the review into level 2 and below provision ends on 27 April 2022.


Jane Hickie, AELP Chief Executive, said:


“The proposals in the government’s consultation on level 2 and below will have a devastating impact on social mobility. A wide range of level 2 and below qualifications are now under threat and this will undoubtedly lead to reduced participation rates – especially among groups that need further education the most. These qualifications are often the first rung on the ladder to better employment and education opportunities, particularly for some of the most disadvantaged groups in society.


As well as having a damaging impact on training providers, these plans will increase the adult skills gap and mean employers struggle to find the right people they need to fill employee vacancies. The proposals fly in the face of the government’s ambition to level up the country and AELP will be working with partners across the sector to oppose these changes.”




The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is a national membership body, proudly representing around 800 organisations. AELP members support thousands of businesses and millions of learners in England by delivering a wide range of training, vocational learning, and employability programmes.

For further information or for interviews please contact Matt Strong, Communications Manager, AELP, on 07920 161685 or [email protected]

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