Qualifications categories

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Depending on the type of qualification you take, you will be taught and will learn in different ways.  Some qualifications are taken at school, college or university, and some are work based.


 Academic

Relate to studies that are liberal or classical rather than technical or vocational.They often require the candidate to undergo research into a particular subject.  Academic courses are valued by employers, however employers may look more favourably on your application if you have spent some time gaining experience in the workplace.

Many employers offer graduate programmes to graduates of bachelors degrees. Graduate programmes provide further specific training often including a professional qualification.

 

England, Northern Ireland, Wales  NQF/QCFlevels
GCSE 1-2
A-Levels, Welsh baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate  

University degrees:
Foundation Degree
Bachelor’s Degree
Master’s Degree
PHD

4-8

5
6
7

Scotland SQCF levels
Standard Grade 4-5
Intermediate 1 4
Intermediate 2 5
Higher 6
University degrees:
Advanced Higher, Higher National Certificate
Higher National Diploma
Ordinary Degree, Graduate Diploma/Certificate
Honours Degree, Graduate Diploma/Certificate
Masters
Doctorates

7-12
7
8
9
10
11
12


 Vocationally related qualifications
 

Relate to qualifications which prepare you for work within an industry. They are designed to give you the skills and knowledge to prepare you for a particular job or in some cases a variety of similar jobs. Vocationally-related qualifications usually delivered as part of a college programme.

Employers value vocationally related qualifications because they show a commitment to the industry you are entering and show that you have the skills and knowledge the employer needs.

England, Northern Ireland, Wales  NQF/QCF levels
OCR Nationals 1-3
BTECs 2-7

Professional qualifications

1-8

QCF qualifications

1-8
Scotland SQCF levels
National Certificates (NC)  2-6
National Progression Award (NPA)  2-6
Professional qualifications 1-8

 

  Occupational

They are assessed in the workplace and develop skills and competencies that are needed to do a particular job. These qualifications are  normally known as NVQs or SVQs in Scotland.

England, Northern Ireland, Wales  NQF/QCF levels
OCR Nationals 1-3
BTECs 2-7

Professional qualifications

1-8

QCF qualifications

1-8
Scotland SQF levels
SVQs qualifications 5-8
AAT Certificates and Diplomas in Accounting 5-8

 

 Skills For Life

Skills For Life qualifications are designed to help learners develop their reading, writing, maths and ICT skills.

England, Northern Ireland, Wales  NQF/QCFlevels

Skills for Life Certificates are available in literacy, numeracy, and information and communication technology (ICT).

Skills for Life qualification in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).


Functional Skills, Key Skills and Essential Skills

1-3

 

 Apprenticeships / Modern Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are taken by candidates in the workplace. Apprenticeships often contain several qualifications  including an occupational qualification, skills for life and sometimes professional qualifications.

England, Northern Ireland, Wales   NQF/QCF levels
Foundation Apprenticeship
Advanced Apprenceship (England)/Advanced Apprenceship NI (Northern Ireland)/ Apprenticeship (Wales)
Higher Apprenticeship (England/Wales)

2
3
4

Scotland SQF levels
Modern Apprenticeships 5-8


 BAF Diploma

The BAF Diploma is taken by 14-19 year olds in England. All learners must achieve the relevant skills for life  qualification, a vocationally-related component and achieved relevant work experience. Learners can also choose to take a GCSE or a further vocationally-related qualification to achieve the BAF Diploma.

England, Northern Ireland, Wales NQF/QCF levels

Foundation BAF Diploma
Higher BAF Diploma
Advanced BAF Diploma

 

1
2
3


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