National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) or Competence-based qualifications reflect the skills and knowledge needed to do a job effectively. They are work-based qualifications that give learners the opportunity to demonstrate their competence in the area of work or job role to which the qualification relates. NVQs/Competence-based qualifications are outcomes-based with no fixed learning programme, allowing flexibility in their delivery to meet the individual learner’s needs.
The qualifications are based on the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the sector, which define what employees, or potential employees, must be able to do and know, and how well they should undertake work tasks and work roles. Most NVQ/Competence-based qualifications form the competence component of Apprenticeship Frameworks. They are suitable for those in employment or those who are studying at college and have a part-time job or access to a substantial work placement. Most learners will work towards their qualification in the workplace or in settings that replicate the working environment as specified in the assessment requirements/strategy for the sector. Colleges, training centres and/or employers can offer these qualifications provided they have access to appropriate physical and human resources.