The systems are made up of a range of different organisations each fulfilling different roles. The above is a simplified illustration combining the four countries approaches and differs slightly in reality for each nation

Six key features that define the UK system:

Employer centred

  • Employers play a key role in the design, delivery and assessment of TVET
  • Employers contribute equipment, expertise, training venues and through the apprenticeship levy 
  • Training outcomes are measured against employment-based outcomes and not just the passing of exams


  • Training providers have relative autonomy in the delivery of training, within a regulated framework 
  • An innovative and multi-faceted sector, responsive to change and meeting varied stakeholders’ needs  
  • Rigorous approach to safeguarding the interests of learners and employers 
  • Marketised system that allows sector stakeholders a degree of choice and utilises competition to improve learner outcomes


  • Commitment to the delivery of high-quality programmes underpinned by robust quality assurance systems and the sharing of effective practice
  • Providers have strong internal quality assurance processes
  • National quality assurance agencies who have the legal power to remove low quality training providers. 
  • Quality inspection reports are publicly available incentivising and rewarding high performance


  • International services include; delivering training and qualifications, joint certification, international student recruitment and technical assistance
  • Supporting a wide range of international development projects and initiatives  
  • The UK Skills Partnership represents the domestic sector globally. 

Access and Inclusion 

  • Providing access to tailored training for all learners at all ages and skills  
  • Comprehensive student support, community engagement, staff development and utilisation of digital technology
  • Specific targets and requirements for equal access to programmes and marketing campaigns aimed at different groups

Economic Development 

  • Contributing to business growth and innovation 
  • Working with local development agencies to enhance approaches to business growth and competitiveness
  • Delivering upskilling and reskilling programmes for SMEs to enhance their productivity  
  • Addressing the challenges of actual and potential unemployment through skills interventions 
  • Contributing to place based regional and local economic development and the development of new industries

Devolved approaches to TVET

The UK Government retains jurisdiction of English Education. Since 1999, education has been devolved to national administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.