National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) are qualifications which offer recognition for the ability to do a job competently; they are available in virtually all professions and at all levels. They have been developed by industry practitioners with the support of the relevant professional institutions and employer bodies for the benefit of those working within the sector to establish a recognised benchmark of achievement for their particular occupation. They are able to show how an individual can meet these nationally accepted standards and are competent before being allowed to undertake certain job functions. NVQs are competence awards and therefore able to prove a person has the necessary competence to carry out the function.
The driver for many of the competency requirements is down to either the regulators or clients demanding proof that the person responsible is qualified and able to carry out and discharge their role competently.
NVQs are about what people can do; by undertaking them, individuals will have their performance measured against a benchmark. This benchmark is the National Occupational Standard identified by industry as current best practice for the particular NVQ being taken.
NVQs are achieved through assessment and training. Assessment is normally through on-the-job observation and questioning. Candidates produce evidence to prove they have the competence to meet the NVQ standards. The assessor tests candidates' underpinning knowledge, understanding and work-based performance to make sure they can demonstrate competence in the workplace.
Candidates compare their performance with the standards as they learn. 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. 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. As the system is so flexible, new ways of learning can be used immediately.
NVQs are not training courses. The standards in NVQs are the benchmark against which a candidate's achievement is judged. They can therefore be targets for learning and used as the basis for designing a training programme, if training becomes necessary.
CASL are proud of their ability to develop people and to identify opportunities to learn within the candidate's existing job role, avoiding the need for costly additional training.
CASL will be upgrading our existing NVQ provision to the QCF (Qualifications Credit Framework) replacements. Any new accreditations from 1 January 2011 will be within the QCF.