National Vocation Qualifications

What are NVQ/Competence-based qualifications?

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are work-based qualifications that give learners the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their competence in the area of work or job role to which the qualification relates.

NVQs are based on the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the appropriate sector. NOS define what employees, or potential employees, must be able to do and know, and how well they should undertake work tasks and work roles. At Level 2 and above, these qualifications are recognised as the competence component of Apprenticeship Frameworks. Qualifications at Level 1 can be used in Traineeships, which are stepping stones to Apprenticeship qualifications. NVQs can also be delivered as stand alone for those who wish to take a work-based qualification.

NVQs are outcomes based with no fixed learning programme – allowing flexible delivery that meets the individual learner’s needs. They are suitable for those in employment and for those who are studying at college and have a part-time job or access to a substantial work placement – so that they are able to demonstrate the competencies required for work.

Most learners will work towards their qualification in the workplace or in settings that replicate the working environment as specified in the assessment requirements/strategy for the sector. Colleges, training centres and/or employers can offer these qualifications provided they have access to appropriate physical and human resources.