City & Guilds, the UK's leading vocational awarding body, and the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), hope the move will provide a path to a globally recognised, vendor-neutral certification.
CompTIA regional director UK and Scandinavia Matthew Poyiadgi said: "This alliance presents the industry with the first recognisable benchmark with which companies can evaluate and assess potential employees, offering IT directors a clear indication of each individual's level of understanding."
The move should also help new entrants to the IT industry who are faced with a bewildering array of training courses.
Under the agreement students who achieve the City & Guilds e-Quals Diploma in Systems Support (Level 2) can sit the CompTIA A+ examination without additional training. Students who could not previously afford to undertake the A+ course can now access the required learning through e-Quals, which is government-funded.
The CompTIA A+ certification is the industry standard for validating vendor-neutral skills expected of an entry-level computer technician. Industry giants such as Microsoft, Cisco and IBM have already adopted A+ as a component of their IT training programmes.
"Being able to award a combined learning experience from City & Guilds and CompTIA means that we can now offer students a greater starting point for their careers in IT," said City & Guilds product manager Eleanor Byram.
"A+ is a recognised benchmark within the commercial IT industry, so not only can we now offer a significant stepping stone to vendor-specific certifications, but our link with CompTIA adds to the global credibility of our vendor neutral certifications."