An NVQ / Credit qualifications (national vocational qualification) is a competence-based qualification comprising of a number of units. For example, NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration is made up of sixteen units, all of which are mandatory to achieve a full qualification. It is possible however, to achieve units towards a full qualification if a candidate wished to be trained and qualified for specific units. In this case, the certificate would list the units in which the candidate had been successful. NVQs / Credit qualifications can help you prepare for work or help your career development. Getting an NVQ / Credit qualification shows you can do a job to national standards and have the up-to-date skills employers are looking for. You don't have to sit through hours, days, weeks or even years of a course, and there are no exams at the end. NVQs / Credit qualifications are about putting learning into practice. Another benefit is that NVQs / Credit qualifications are flexible - you can do an NVQ / Credit qualification as part of your normal job through open learning and private study.
There are five levels that range from competent performance at a very basic skill to competent performance at a senior management level. The levels are as follows:
Level 1 - a candidate would be competent in a range of work activities, which are routine; the candidate would require supervision.
Level 2 - a candidate would be competent in a significant range of work activities some of which are not predictable or routine. A degree of autonomy is given; the candidate would not require super vision.
Level 3 - a candidate would be competent in quite a broad range of activities, which would cover a variety of contexts. The work would be complex; the candidate would be supervising other staff.
Level 4 - a candidate would be competent in a broad range of work activities, which are technical and require significant responsibility; the candidate would be managing other staff.
Level 5 - a candidate would be competent in a significant range of complex techniques across a wide range of unpredictable contexts; the candidate would be managing or co-managing an organisation.
There are no limits to the number of NVQs you can do, but they will depend on where you are working.
You don't need any formal qualifications to follow an NVQ / Credit qualification programme and there is no set time. It will depend on how much time you can allocate to the work. As a rough guide the normal time to complete the NVQ / Credit qualification would be about 9 to 12 months.