At school we are taught a range of subjects to give us an all round education. Whilst this is important for our development, much the knowledge we acquire is, frankly, of little direct value in the work place. What employers need are people with the right skills for the right job.
Vocational qualifications such as NVQ’s (National Vocational Qualifications) and QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework) are work-related, competence-based qualifications introduced to train people in a work based environment – from beginner apprentice to senior management. They reflect the skills and knowledge needed to do a job effectively, and show that a candidate is competent in the area of work the NVQ/QCF represents.
Millions of learners in the UK have taken NVQ courses covering a wide diversity of subjects ranging from Health and Social Care, Customer Service, Administration, IT and Hospitality and Catering.
The NVQ qualification has recently been replaced by the QCF or Qualifications and Credit Framework.
The QCF, like an NVQ, is a system for recognising skills and qualifications. It does this by awarding credit for qualifications and units (small steps of learning), with each unit holding a credit value. This value specifies the number of credits gained by learners who complete that unit.
The advantage and flexibility of the system allows learners to gain qualifications at their own pace along routes that suit them best. Unlike an NVQ the QCF’s credit based system means that a student who fails to complete the entire award, certificate or diploma can gain recognised credits for their work rather than walking away empty handed.
NVQ’s and QCF qualifications are based on ‘national occupational standards’ laid down by the Government body ENTO. These standards describe what competent people in a particular occupation are expected to be able to do. They cover all the main aspects of an occupation, including current best practice, the ability to adapt to future requirements and the knowledge and understanding that make competent performance.
Within reason, NVQ’s and QCF qualifications do not have to be completed in a specified amount of time. 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. There are no age limits and no special entry requirements.
How are QCF/NVQ’s achieved?
QCF/NVQ’s are achieved through study, training and on-going assessment. Assessment is normally through on-the-job, work related observation and questioning. Candidates produce evidence to prove they have the competence to meet the standards. Assessors ‘sign-off’ units when the candidates are competent. The assessor tests candidates’ knowledge, understanding and work-based performance to make sure they can demonstrate competence in the workplace.
There are no exams, dissertations or complicated written work needed to gain a vocational qualification.
Who can take an NVQ/QCF vocational course?
In general anyone can take a vocational course provided they are able to demonstrate competence in a work based environment.
Some units within the QCF structure are purely ‘knowledge based’ and may be taken without the need for work based assessment.
Bulgarian and Romanian students – why you should consider a vocational course
NVQ and QCF courses have proved popular with Bulgarian and Romanian citizens seeking to gain a UK qualification whilst studying and working on a ‘yellow card’ registration (BR1). After 12 months of continuous study and work they can apply for UK residence or Blue Card.
For more information on immigration rules for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens visit the UK Border Agency website or see an OISC registered immigration adviser.
Majestic College offer special packages for UK and EU students. For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org