Colin Leith from Edexcel introduces the new BTEC Tech Award in Enterprise.

The new BTEC Tech Award in Enterprise is gradually replacing the BTEC First Award in Business as the First Award loses its recognition (after 2019) as a qualification included in the DfE performance measures.

The Tech Award is made up of three components rather than units, to emphasize the integrated nature of the content. The third component (Promotion and Finance for Enterprise) is externally assessed and the external assessment is synoptic, potentially assessing content from all three components.

Component titles Assessment type GLH % of Qual
1. Exploring Enterprises Internal 36 30
2. Planning and Pitching for an Enterprise Activity Internal 36 30
3. Promotion and Finance for Enterprise External and synoptic 48 40

When planning the delivery of the course, the timing of Component 3 is likely to have a big influence. We have moved from the on-demand model used in the First Award to an exam which is available twice a year. The flexibility of on-demand testing has been lost but visibility has been gained with access to past question papers, mark schemes, examiners’ reports and grade boundaries available in the same way as GCSE. Post-results services such as Access To Scripts and Reviews of Marking will also be possible.

The Tech Award allows one resit of the Component 3 exam and if a resit is attempted the better result will contribute to the final grade. This means that it would be logical to enter learners for the exam in the January/February exam series of Year 11, in order to allow for a resit in the May/June exam series.

The delivery plan can then be built around the external assessment dates, meaning that the content from the three components needs to have been all delivered (although not necessarily assessed) by January of Year 11. The other consideration may be a desire to have work sampled in Year 10. This would mean that you would need to plan to have an internally assessed component (Component 1 probably) ready for sampling by early May in Year 10.

The delivery plan would then be to complete Component 1 by early May in Year 10, to teach (but not necessarily assess) Components 2 and 3 from May to December/January and then to assess (or finish assessing) Component 2 after the February exam sitting.

Component 1, Exploring Enterprises, is made up of three Learning Aims, and learners will need to base their work in each of the learning aims on the same two contrasting local enterprises. It would be difficult to ensure that the learners’ work was individualised if all learners have the same responses from the same two organisations, so teachers will have quite a bit of preparation to do to help learners select different enterprises.

Early feedback suggests that this component has provided enriching opportunities for learners to meet local entrepreneurs and that this has been very motivating and beneficial for learning.

The specification states that the enterprises be local so that learners have a chance to actually meet the entrepreneurs they are investigating rather than researching them online. A letter to parents enlisting their support in finding an enterprise for their son or daughter to use through family/friend contacts might be a good way to start the planning, as well as asking school governors and careers officers for local contacts. You will probably need to arrange for visits to, or visits into school from three local enterprises to provide your learners with the opportunity to select their own two enterprises.

When selecting enterprises it is important that there is a contrast: it could be that one of the two is a small/new enterprise and one is a larger more established enterprise; or the contrast could be in what they do, in the service/goods they sell. For example a hairdressing business is very different to a restaurant/cafe/pub. There is some Sample Marked Learner Work for Component 1 on the website, and that uses a plumbing business and a florist.

It is expected that the same two contrasting SMEs will be used throughout. This means that teachers must check that the enterprises will allow their learners to cover all three learning aims. Both enterprises should engage in market research, as the learners need to use the outcome/results of this market research for Learning Aim B.

The two enterprises need to be trading in order to make a profit (or surplus) and should be SMEs with fewer than 250 employees. A social enterprise is appropriate if its income is generated from trading and not from donations or grants. The school is not appropriate. A franchise is not appropriate although a franchisee could be so long as this franchisee does some independent market research.

The content of Component 1 includes elements of the First Award in Business. On the Tech Award, Learning Aim A looks at the characteristics of enterprises and their entrepreneurs and the command verbs compare, describe, analyse and assess. In Learning Aim B learners will need to look at the market research activities of their chosen enterprises and you will need to introduce the verbs explain and discuss. Learning Aim C introduces learners to the external environment and ways of measuring the success of an enterprise and you will need to work on the command verb evaluate.

There could potentially be three assignments for Component 1 (one for each Learning Aim) and you will have to decide when is the best time for your learners to tackle these. You may wish to assess Learning Aim A as soon as the teaching and learning for Learning Aim A is complete but this is likely to be before Christmas of Year 10 and could be too early. It might be beneficial for learners if teachers were to introduce formative or mock assignment tasks before Christmas and delay the summative assessment until later, in March or April perhaps. This may result in greater success at first submission, which might in turn result in less assessment administration and more focus on teaching and learning.

Component 2, Planning and Pitching for an Enterprise Activity, provides learners with an opportunity to draw together learning from the other components and to draw up a business plan. Much of the key content for the business plan overlaps with Component 3 and could be taught at the same time. If you taught the First Award, it may remind you of parts of the old Unit 1.

Learners start by researching an idea and then write a business plan. You will need to teach the presentation and communication skills which will be required when learners pitch their idea, and you will also need to teach learners how to use feedback to review their plan and pitch.

Component 3, Promotion and Finance for Enterprise is the externally assessed component (although the exam is synoptic and could potentially assess the entire specification).

The Promotion topic is important for the understanding of Component 2 and Target Markets could also be taught as part of Component 1 where an understanding or market segmentation is required.

There are considerable overlaps with First Award Unit 2 content on financial records and forecasting and if you taught the old Applied GCSE Business you will recognise much of the old Unit 2 and 4 content. A large proportion of the Component 3 content is required for the business plan (Component 2).

Qualification outcomes are across seven grades (Level 1 Pass, Merit, Distinction; Level 2 Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction*). Unlike the First Award where the Level 1 Pass was a ‘fallback’, the internally assessed units include separate Level 1 Pass and Merit criteria and three Level 1 outcomes are possible for the qualification as a whole. For the first time, there is also an element of compensation within an individual component. A minimum of a Level 1 Pass in all three components is required for the Tech Award to be achieved and this allows for compensation between components.

Overall, there are many overlaps between the First Award and the content you will need to teach in the Tech Award and this could result in time-savings as well as an opportunity to reuse and re-purpose teaching resources. We have provided Authorised Assignment Briefs for Components 1 and 2 and sample marked learner work for Component 1. The Sample Assessment Material and particularly the Additional Sample Assessment material for Component 3 provide a clear indication of how the exam will be designed and from summer 2019 there will be past papers mark schemes and examiners’ reports available too. Specific subject support is available via

Colin Leith works at Edexcel as a Subject Advisor for Economics and Business.

To find the qualification page: