the regulatory framework supporting nvqs was withdrawn in 2015 and replaced by the regulated qualifications framework (rqf), although the term “nvq” may be used in rqf qualifications if they “are based on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. typically, candidates worked towards an nvq that reflected their role in a paid or voluntary position. 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.  city & guilds itself ties each nvq to the level on the nqf with the same number.  both graduateship (gcgi) and associateship (acgi) have been awarded, before the year 2004, at level 5 of nvq.
learners like them because they can do them without having to give up work. employers like them because they demonstrate an individual’s true skill. these standards are statements of performance that describe what competent people in a particular occupation are expected to be able to do. they can be taken by full-time employees or by school and college students with a work placement or part-time job that enables them to develop the appropriate skills. svqs (scottish vocational qualifications) operate broadly in the same way as nvqs, but are used mostly in scotland. you can see how the svqs are related to other scottish qualifications in the scqf here.
to complete an nvq/svq you need to prove that you can do certain work-related tasks. they are assessed in a combination of ways: by portfolio – you build up evidence of what you’ve done at work; and by observation – an assessor watches you work and checks that you can do the tasks. the assessor tests candidates’ knowledge, understanding and work-based performance to make sure they can demonstrate competence in the workplace. they look at what they have achieved, how much they still need to do and how they should go about it, until they are assessed as competent for a unit or a whole nvq/svq. the system is right for candidates who already have skills and want to increase them, but also for those who are starting from the beginning. progression awards, certificates, diplomas and other vocational awards – we use a number of different names for them but these awards are designed for people who can’t take an nvq (nvqs are only available to you if you’re currently employed). they’re classroom-based awards that will help you learn the knowledge and skills you would need to do a job or take and nvq.
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