In simple terms we are the people who issue you with your certificate when you complete your AIM Awards qualification, but it is a little bit more complicated than that. There are lots of other things we have to do in order to be able to award you your qualification.
We are a national and international awarding organisation
We are regulated by both the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). They ensure that the qualifications can be trusted and make sense. To keep our regulation with them, we must follow strict rules that make sure:
- The way we test our learners is fair
- Our qualifications compare to other similar qualifications
- The way assessments are marked for our qualifications are reliable
- We can check people taking are qualifications are who they say they are
This means that you can use your qualification and certificate with confidence to prospective colleges and employers when making applications as they are nationally recognised and conform to strict standards. We are based in the United Kingdom, but we also operate internationally in a range of different countries.
We put together the content of qualifications
A qualification certificate is a way of you showing the world you are able to do something. To get your certificate you have to pass assessments that show you can do whatever you want to be qualified to do. For example, you would expect to pass a test on addition and subtraction to get a qualification in maths.
For all our qualifications we work out what you need to know in order to get it. If it is a qualification that is designed to get you into work then we will speak with employers in that sector, find out what they want and put it in our qualification content, known as a specification, so it can be tested. Same for a qualification designed to get you into university. We will speak to university tutors, find out what they want and make sure it is covered.
When we have all the content in place we also decide how to test that an individual who wants the qualification has all of the knowledge and skills it covers. Depending on the subject, this could be by an exam, coursework or practical activities.
Working with learning providers to deliver qualifications to you
Once we have put the content of a qualification together, we then work with learning providers so that they can be offered to learners like you. We work with all kinds of learning providers, for example:
- Colleges of Further Education
- Training providers
- Charities and community organisations
- International centres outside the UK
In order to deliver our qualifications, we check learning providers meet certain standards to make sure you have a high quality learning experience. For example, we will check that they have tutors qualified to teach the subject content of the qualifications they wish to offer.
Checking that you meet the standard
Once all of these arrangements are in place, we carry out our main role, which is to check that individuals have met the standard set out in the qualification specification. We do this in different ways depending on how your qualification is assessed.
If you are completing a portfolio of evidence, one of our external verifiers will come and check that all the evidence is there and that it has been marked correctly before the evidence is signed off.
If you are required to sit an exam, we will be responsible for writing it, marking it, and setting the pass mark.
As already mentioned, our final job is providing you with a certificate. This isn't as simple as it sounds. We have to make sure that the identity of the people who receive our certificates is checked, so we can be sure they are going to the right individual. We also have to make sure that the certificates can't be easily copied or countefeited. We do this by including things like holograms, watermarks and individual certificate issue numbers.