National Vocational Qualification

Last updated: July 31, 2017

What Does National Vocational Qualification Mean?

The National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is a competence-based qualification used within the United Kingdom.

Accreditation of NVQs by various agencies is completed through the assessment of practical assignments and a portfolio of completed work. As such, NVQ students are able to complete their NVQ through their regular course of work, apprenticeships, and other practical non-academic activities. There are accredited NVQ programs for occupational health and safety professionals working in the United Kingdom.

Safeopedia Explains National Vocational Qualification

NVQs are “on-the-job” qualifications that involve the assessment of competencies related to an individual’s regular course of work. They allow individuals to achieve formal, recognized qualifications without the need for classroom-study or exams.

There are five NVQ levels, ranging from Level 1 to Level 5. In Scotland, NVQs are replaced by Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) under a similar but separate system from the rest of the United Kingdom. Each level of qualification is designed to be comparable to other UK accreditations. For instance, the Level 5 NVQ provided by the City & Guilds organization is listed as being the equivalent to an undergraduate degree.

NVQ accreditations also have sector-specific equivalencies. The British Safety Council—a government-regulated awarding body and the largest occupational health and safety non-profit in the UK—offers Level 3 and Level 5 NVQs in Occupational Health and Safety. Participants recognized as achieving the Level 5 NVQ are assessed as having a level of competence in OHS equal to a completed course of study that results in a Diploma from the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH).


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