Under the scheme, exam boards for the new “tech levels” qualifications will need public approval from either professional bodies or five employers that are registered with Companies House and “represent the breadth of the relevant sector”.
The Department for Education (DoE) has listed the hospitality sector as one relevant industry, along with engineering, IT and accounting.
In order to be included in performance tables, it must be possible to demonstrate what the qualification would lead to, such as a job or apprenticeship.
The idea is for tech levels to be available from September 2014.
The DoE said the “aspirational reforms” would “not only strengthen vocational education but also boost the economy by giving young people the skills to fill much-needed shortages in key occupations”.
Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: “Tech levels will recognise rigorous and responsive technical education. High-quality rigorous vocational education is essential to future prosperity, and the life chances of millions.
“Because technical education is so important, it is vital the qualifications young people take are stretching, high-quality and support their aspirations. These reforms are unashamedly aspirational and will ensure tech levels help people into apprenticeships and jobs.
“So for the first time we will ensure that exam boards list the employers or universities which support their courses. Only these stretching, strong courses will count in league tables.”