Work-Based Learning

Technical Qualifications and Training Related to the Workplace

Skills & Learning offer a range of courses, workshops and qualifications to support the development of knowledge and skills for work

What are NVQs?

NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) are based on national occupational standards. These standards are statements of performance that describe what competent people in a particular occupation are expected to be able to do. They cover all the main aspects of an occupation, including current best practice, the ability to adapt to future requirements and the knowledge and understanding that underpin competent performance. 

Within reason, NVQs do not have to be completed in a specified amount of time. They can be taken by employees or by learners with a work placement, part-time job or volunteer placement that enables you to develop the appropriate skills.

Skills & Learning can support with NVQ achievement for employees/learners aged 19+. You will need to have English and Maths qualifications or skills at a minimum of Level 1 to undertake an NVQ programme with us.     

How are NVQs achieved?

NVQs work by testing your abilities in the workplace. To complete an NVQ you need to prove that you can do certain work-related tasks. NVQs are assessed in a combination of ways: By portfolio – you build up evidence of what you’ve done at work; and by observation – an assessor watches you work and checks that you can do the tasks.

You will produce evidence to prove you have the competence to meet the NVQ standards. Assessors sign off units when you are ready. The assessor tests your knowledge, understanding and work-based performance to make sure you can demonstrate competence in the workplace. 

You will compare your performance with the standards as you learn. You will look at what you have achieved, how much you still need to do and how you should go about it, until you are assessed as competent for a unit or a whole NVQ. The system is right for those 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.

Some traditional NVQs have evolved into alternative Certificates and Diplomas that combine the development of underpinning knowledge with on the job competence.   

Skills & Learning are able to deliver and assess NVQs and NVQ style qualifications in:

  • Business Administration
  • Customer Service
  • Adult Care
  • Hairdressing
  • Information, Advice & Guidance
  • Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools
  • Early Years Education & Care
  • Training, Assessment & Quality Assurance

(add links to webenrol CIS for these)

Vocational qualifications

Various awards, certificates and diplomas are available in a range of vocational areas. Unlike NVQs, these qualifications don’t require you to be employed in the particular vocational area. They are particularly suitable if you are unemployed, looking for work or are changing career.

We offer Courseroom-based or distance learning qualifications that will help you learn the knowledge and skills you would need to do a job. They’re assessed in a number of ways: assignments, practical tests, written exams or even online multiple choice tests. These are an ideal way to improve your knowledge and get that promotion you’re after.  

For employers, vocational qualifications are a useful way of improving the skills of your workforce.  

For more information, take a look at our Vocational Skills and Personal Development page (link) and the Distance Learning page (link)  

Regulated Qualifications Framework

The RQF provides a single, simple system for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by Ofqual. It’s like a bookcase in a library, with qualifications indexed by their ‘level’ and ‘size’. Qualifications at any specific level can be very different from one another, for example in their content and purpose. Ofqual maintain a register that provides more detail on each qualification.

Qualification Level

Levels indicate the difficulty and complexity of the knowledge and skills associated with any qualification. There are eight levels supported by three ‘entry’ levels. While most qualifications will be assigned a single level some, such as GCSEs, can span more than one.

Qualification Size

Size refers to the estimated total amount of time it could typically take to study and be assessed for a qualification. This can be anything from a matter of hours to several years of study and different students can take different amounts of time to study for the same qualification. Size is expressed in terms of Total Qualification Time. The part of that time typically spent being taught or supervised, rather than studying alone, is known as Guided Learning Hours. Qualifications can sit at different levels, but require similar amounts of study and assessment time. Equally, qualifications at the same level can take different amounts of study and assessment time.

The RQF replaces the Qualifications and Credit Framework, and National Qualifications Framework in October 2015.


An Apprenticeship is a genuine, paid job with an accompanying substantial, high quality, skills development programme. It is a way for individuals to earn while they learn gaining valuable skills and knowledge in a specific job role. The Apprentice gains this through a wide mix of learning in the workplace and off the job training. Apprentices benefit employers and individuals, and by boosting the skills of the workforce they help to improve productivity.