What is it?

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are a 'competence-based' qualification. This means you will be expected to show you can do set things to a competent standard. They are based on national standards for various occupations. The standards say what a competent person in a job could be expected to do. As you progress through the course, you compare your skills and knowledge with these standards as you learn, so you can see what you need to do to meet them. They can be awarded from levels 1 to 7, covering basic to professional level skills. Taking an NVQ could be appropriate if you want to improve your skills or learn new skills related to a career area. You can take NVQs if you are employed, have a part-time job or access to a work placement. Many Apprenticeships also involve an NVQ qualification.

Where could I study?

You can study for an NVQ at a local college or training provider. You can also study online and through distance learning. If you are in a job and have already developed certain skills and competencies, these can be assessed towards an NVQ in your workplace.

How long will it take me?

Within reason, there is no maximum time limit to complete an NVQ; it is designed to be taken at a pace that suits your needs. However, many learners take about one year to complete an NVQ at level 1 and 2, and around two years for an NVQ at level 3.

Options after the course?

Completing an NVQ can lead to further training at the next level. You could go all the way to a level 7 NVQ and/or professional qualifications, usually in a related area. If you've studied an NVQ at level 3, you could also go on to a higher education course in a related vocational area, such as a Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, Foundation Degree or other vocational specialism.