the regulatory framework supporting nvqs was withdrawn in 2015 and replaced by the regulated qualifications framework (rqf), although the term “nvq” may be used in rqf qualifications if they “are based on recognised occupational standards, work-based and/or simulated work-based assessment and where they confer occupational competence”.  as the nvq were based on a student’s practical skills, it was completed in the workplace and not in the classroom. at the end of the nvq, the student would also undergo two final practical assessments, during which an nvq assessor will observe and ask questions. nvqs were based upon meeting national occupational standards which described the “competencies” expected in any given job role. alternatively, if further work needed completing, the student would receive a ‘not yet competent’ (which was regarded as failing the nvq). there were five levels of nvq ranging from level 1, which focuses on basic work activities, to level 5 for senior management.
although nvq’s such as a nvq level 3 can be roughly translated as being at the same level as a gce advanced level or btec level 3 extended diploma, in terms of depth and vigor of study, the nvq cannot be compared with other academic qualifications at the same level, i.e. for this reason, the nvq level 3 does not attract ucas points and cannot be used for university admission. however, for the compilation of social statistics and other purposes, approximate equivalences have to be established.  both graduateship (gcgi) and associateship (acgi) are at level six of the national qualifications framework, compared by ofqual to the highest category nvqs of level 4.  membership (mcgi) is placed on nqf level 7, and fellowship (fcgi) on level 8, compared by ofqual to nvqs of level 5.  both graduateship (gcgi) and associateship (acgi) have been awarded, before the year 2004, at level 5 of nvq.
there’s a huge range of different courses that you can do, and many types of qualifications you can get, from entry level to advanced. national occupational standards are lists of skills and knowledge that employers say you need to be able to work in a certain sector. if you know what job or career you want to pursue, then this can be a good way to make sure that you develop the right skills and knowledge for that role.
if you’re weighing up your post-16 options, then some vocational courses take up more of the timetable than a single a-level, so you won’t be able to study as many different subjects. you can study up to three alongside a minimum of five core gcses (including english and maths). if you are still considering university and want to know whether you can apply with a vocational qualification, the best thing is to check the exact entry requirements for the courses you are considering. for more advice speak to your careers advisor or have a look on the ucas website.
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