Using NOS

The uses of National Occupational Standards

National Occupational Standards are here to help you. Let us show you how.

National Occupational Standards in business

National Occupational Standards can be used to complement an organisation's own competence framework by adding a further dimension to effective performance - achievement against national benchmarks.

Some of the uses of National Occupational Standards for employers include the following:

  • Recruitment and selection - including drawing up person specifications and job descriptions 
  • Competence assessment - providing a reference to assess ability and training needs
  • Appraisals and designing reward systems 
  • Training design and delivery 
  • Succession and career development activities, including effective skills upgrading
  • Identification of skills and knowledge needed for occupations 
  • Providing a reference to assess ability and training needs 
  • Identification and support of career paths 
  • Providing guidelines for certification and accreditation 
  • Increasing mobility within industries and providing guidance for career changers

The ‘Pick and Mix' approach in using National Occupational Standards

When using NOS for such purposes as developing a training programme or designing an appraisal, a ‘pick and mix' approach should be adopted. 

Taking the NOS for Training & Competence Schemes as an example, these consist of 36 units which are intended to cover all functions within the Training & Competence role, both for large organisations and SMEs. However, we recognise that very few people will carry out all the functions in each unit from a NOS suite and so the most appropriate combination of units for the target audience should be selected.

National Occupational Standards and qualifications

NOS form part of the qualifications landscape, alongside the Appropriate Examination Standards, which are also developed by the FSP. Further details can be found here.

115 Uses of National Occupational Standards

A number of Sector Skills Councils make reference to a document entitled 115 Uses of National Occupational Standards and a copy of this can be downloaded here.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) was established by the Government in April 2008 and aims to benefit employers, individuals and government by advising how improved employment and skills systems can help the UK become a world-class leader in productivity, in employment and in having a fair and inclusive society. 

The UKCES oversees all NOS development work including maintaining the NOS Directory, and further details of their role can be seen at




Tel : 020 7367 9542

Copyright FSP 2011 | 51 Gresham Street London EC2V 7HQ