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How do we assess our employees who register for the Award and/or the Certificate in Pensions Essentials?

We would expect you to be confident that the candidates have achieved the Learning Outcomes set out in the Guidance Notes. The key to the flexibility of these qualifications is such that you, as a company, can decide how and when you want to train & test your staff following attendance at the training course. An Assessment test will need to be taken, but you design the questions based on the Learning Outcomes.

Why is the Award in Pensions Essentials classed as Level 2 and the Certificate of Pensions Essentials classed as Level 3.

Level 2 is broadly equivalent to GCSEs and represents 20 learning hours on a particular subject. Level 3 equates to A levels and represents 30 learning hours on a particular subject. Following completion of these qualifications, a suggested route for administrators could be DPC/QPA which are set at Level 4.

Level 2 gives attendees a rounded knowledge of pensions (learning on the job, accessing an individuals records, being able to do a basic calculation etc) whereas Level 3 builds on this knowledge and can follow the career progression of an administrator.

What will candidates get at the end of these qualifications?

They will need to achieve the 5 mandatory units for the Award and then claim a final qualification certificate from PMI

The Certificate in Pensions Essentials is slightly different in that each time candidates pass the Assessment test, candidates should claim a certificate from the PMI confirming that they have passed that individual unit. Upon completion of all 10 units you can claim a final certificate awarding for the qualification Certificate in Pensions Essentials.

How can we be sure that there will be standardisation between all companies electing to take up and deliver the training needed for their staff to pass these qualifications?

PMI will ensure that a check on standardisation has been undertaken on the Assessment test questions and candidate answers to ensure that the qualifications meet the quality approved standards and are consistent between various companies. – see the standardisation section on the website

Are there any timescales for passing these qualifications?

The PMI wants individuals to start and complete these qualifications in a realistic period. It is the PMI's expectation that the Award should be completed within 12 months and the Certificate within 18 - 24 months of registration.

These qualifications appear to be geared towards larger third party administrators who have the training resources, but it may be more difficult for in-house administration teams. Will PMI approve the training of a provider and then a smaller company could buy their material?

PMI is the approved Awarding Organisation for these two qualifications. The PMI cannot approve or recommend a company's training material, but is willing to provide a list and contact names of those companies who may wish to make their training courses and/or questions for the Assessment test available to other companies.

Should the Assessment tests include calculations where applicable?

If the Learning Outcomes state that a calculation is required, then this should be in the Assessment test.