What is an NVQ?

In General by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

Practically everyone in the UK has worked, is working, or will work. The course of employment usually begins with applying based on skills through a CV. However, some people may not know how to approach gathering the skills they need for a particular job they want to work in. Some people may also not know about the possibility of undertaking an NVQ, and how it can help future employees be more qualified. So, what exactly is an NVQ?

To put it briefly, an NVQ stands for a National Vocational Qualification. The NVQ is a work-based qualification which is designed to teach individuals the skills needed for a particular job. An NVQ would be granted if the candidate demonstrated that they were competent in the particular field and their skills were recognised.

While this may have given you a brief answer as to what an NVQ is, it may be beneficial to read on if there are any more questions.

What is an NVQ qualification?

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) were introduced in the UK in the 80s. For more on what NVQ stands for, check out this Think Student article. They are a way to both teach and recognise an individual’s skills and knowledge, and grant them a qualification equal to an academic one.

In order to achieve the NVQ, a series of assessments must be carried out by the candidate before they can be recognised as having those skills necessary to do their job competently. NVQs are vocational courses, meaning that they focus on preparing a student for a specific trade or industry instead of academics.

NVQs can be completed at many levels, from level 1 to bachelor’s degree or equivalent (levels 1 to 7). Most level 1 and 2 NVQs take approximately a year to complete, and level 3 NVQs take roughly two years. Higher level NVQs may take longer to complete.

There are many benefits of undertaking NVQs. For the candidate, it means a flexible route straight into working in the industry, since it is a vocational course. It also improves employability and transferability. Additionally, the candidate has access to recognised qualifications without any other formal education, as there are no prior requirements for an NVQ.

For employers, it allows them to raise their staff to a national standard which improves efficiency in the workplace. It also demonstrates a quality of business to customers.

For more information about what an NVQ is, this article at SVT Vocational Training may be helpful.

To find out more about what vocational courses are, check out this helpful article at Think Student.

Is an NVQ a diploma?

To put it briefly, higher level NQVs award their own type of diplomas, but overall, an NQV is considered more of a qualification than a diploma. 

Below is a list of NQVs and their equivalents:

  • Level 1 – 3/4 GCSE Grades D-G (1-3)
  • Level 2 – 4/5 GCSE Grades A*-C (4-9)
  • Level 3 – 2 A-Levels
  • Level 4 – HNC/BTEC
  • Level 5 – HND/Foundation Degree
  • Level 6 – Undergraduate Degree/Degree Apprenticeship
  • Level 7 – Master’s Degree/PGCE

If you would like to know more about NQVs and their equivalents you can check out the education levels from this government guide or this Think Student article. The information in the table above was taken from this reed article.

What is an SCQF?

SCQF stands for the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework. It shows how all qualifications (awarded by the SQA and other universities) in Scotland compare to each other, through a credits system.

The SCQF credit points are based on average time taken to complete a particular qualification (including time spent during self-directed learning, not just at school or university). One point represents a notional 10 hours of learning.

SCQF credit points are not related to UCAS tariff points at all. SCQF points measure the time taken to learn something regardless of the grade, whereas UCAS points are determined on grades. For more about UCAS points, check out this Think Student article.

There are 12 SCQF levels, with level 1 being the least demanding, and 12 being most demanding (12 is roughly PhD level).

The SCQF regulates SVQ qualifications. SVQ stands for Scottish Vocational Qualification, and these operate essentially the same as NVQs, just in Scotland. To read more about how the SCQF system relates to SVQs, check out this article on the Scottish Qualifications Authority website!

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