An overview of National Vocational Qualifications

What is an NVQ?
NVQs were first introduced in 1986 and have become a very significant part of the UK training and development landscape.

NVQs are based on national standards for various occupations. The standards say what a competent person in a particular job could be expected to do.

There are more than 1300 different NVQs to choose from and they are available in most business sectors.

Generally it would take about one year to complete an NVQ at level 1 or 2, and around two years for an NVQ at level 3.

There are NVQs at different levels, ranging from 1 to 5, depending on the sector. This allows learners to study at a level that’s appropriate to their job role and level of experience.

The assessment process
You don’t have to follow a specific course to complete an NVQ. You may already have the necessary skills knowledge and understanding from experience in the job to complete the NVQ without formal training.

An NVQ allows prior learning and experience to be recognised. If you have relevant skills from previous training or work experience you may be able to use it as evidence towards assessment for the NVQ. This is called accreditation of prior learning.

NVQs are assessed on practical assignments and a portfolio of evidence. NormallyArticle Search, a qualified assessor will observe you and question you about the work that you do. Your knowledge and understanding will be tested as well as your performance.

Your assessor will give you a written report of the assessment process and outcomes to add to your portfolio. Your assessor will ‘sign-off’ individual units within the NVQ when you have reached the required standard.

You are assessed as being either ‘competent’ or ‘not yet competent’.

More about NVQs
One of the benefits of doing an NVQ is that your mentor or assessor will be able to help you to identify learning and development opportunities to match your personal training needs and learning style.