nvq courses are available to anyone whatever their age, although there are certain requirements (you have to be employed or studying at college whilst doing a part-time job or be in a work placement). the levels are broadly equivalent as follows: level 1 = 3-4 gcses at grades d-g level 2 = 4-5 gcses at grades a-c level 3 = 2 ‘a’ levels level 4 = higher education certificate / btec level 5 = higher education diploma / foundation degree although there is no set time limit to complete your nvq and you are free to work at your own pace, most people find it takes them about one year to gain an nvq level 1, nvq level 2 or nvq level 3. qualifications & curriculum authority approved assessment centres can be found at most colleges and universities and within the nhs.
you will find an nvq course available in almost every business and public service sector. they may also be based within a particular company where nvqs are taken by members of staff, although this would normally tend to be a larger company that has the resources to support such a scheme.
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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