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National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)

What are National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications?

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are work-related qualifications. They are designed to allow you to learn in a way that suits you, and give you the skills that employers are looking for. There are lots to choose from, in a wide range of subjects. NVQs and SNVQs are normally taken while you are at work and are a good option if you already have a good idea of what you want to do in your career. They assess the skills that you demonstrate at work and are available at five levels, from level 1 - for routine jobs - to level 5 - for jobs with complex tasks and substantial responsibility. They reflect your ability to carry out skilled tasks and can be taken over a flexible period of time

Choosing what to study

A qualification is made up of a number of units which you need to complete. You can usually choose some units but others will be compulsory. This will give you the chance to build a qualification that suits your personal circumstances, interests and skills.

Making previous study count

If the qualification you want to study includes units you have already completed for another qualification, you can transfer the credit you’ve gained to your new qualification. You don’t have to take these units again.

Combining learning from different places

Units are portable and are available from a wide range of learning providers including employers, across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. You can combine units from training at work and units from training at college to gain a qualification. You can also complete a unit in one part of the UK, and then combine it with other units taken elsewhere in the UK.

Existing Vocational Qualifications

Vocational Qualifications include names you may already be familiar with, such as NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) and HNCs (Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas). More detail on these can be found through the links opposite.

Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs)

If you want to go on to higher education and gain a recognised qualification to do a specific job, a BTEC, HNC or HND could be for you. HNCs and HNDs focus on 'learning by doing' and can lead into a new career, or help you progress in your current line of work.

Business and Technology Education Council (BTECs)

BTECs are vocational qualifications that prepare students equally for direct entry into employment or for progression to higher education. There are three types of BTEC:

·         The BTEC National Award - broadly equivalent to one GCSE A level

·         The BTEC National Certificate - broadly equivalent to two GCSE A levels

·         The BTEC National Diploma - broadly equivalent to three GCSE A levels

For more information on vocational qualifications, visit the websites on this page.


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