Awarding Organisations

The QCF is a new system of acknowledging and comparing various skills and qualifications within in the United Kingdom. It is in the centre of a major reform of the vocational qualifications (VQ) system. It has been specially created to simplify the existing qualifications system in order to not only make it easier to understand but to be more responsive to both the learner and employer needs.

This framework will provide an innovative method of recognising skills and qualifications by awarding credit for qualifications and units. This allows students to learn in more bite sized stages. The present system is the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

The system will provide a much easier way to understand each unit and qualification, and will have credit value (1 credit will represent 10 hours). Credits will measure how much time it takes an individual to complete their units. Another benchmark will be for difficulty which is rated between level 1 and 8.

There are three types of qualification in the QCF:

Award (1-12 credits)
Certificate (13-36 credits)
Diploma (above 36 credits)

Qualification Level Courses Offered


Entry Level National Awards Awards and qualifications such as Entry Level Certificates and Skills for Life will acknowledge and recognise the basic understanding and the ability to apply learning in everyday situations that occur. Learning at this stage is not specifically geared towards certain occupations. It concentrates on the individual developing and building basic knowledge and skills for example numeracy and literacy.
Level 1 (Credits 1- 12) Award Learning at level 1 recognises the basic understanding and knowledge of the skills and the ability to apply learning with supervision. These qualifications are primarily concerned with the activities that are related to everyday situations. A level 1 qualification will be linked to the competence of the job. It is highly likely that positions representing level 1 jobs will become uncommon. This will be due to employment becoming more based on knowledge.
Level 2 (Credits 13 - 36) Certificates / Qualifications Someone in the level 2 category demonstrates good knowledge of the subject area. It also confirms the ability an individual has to perform a range of tasks or activities with some guidance. A level 2 qualification is becoming the minimum qualification requested by organisations to meet job role criteria.
Level 3 (credits 37+) Diplomas Attaining a qualification at level 3 recognises the individual’s ability to apply a variety of knowledge, understanding and also skills in a more detailed manner. Level 3 qualifications are suitable for people who wish to continue their study and want to go onto higher education, to work independently or to train other in their discipline.
Level 4 - 8
(Credits 37+)
Advanced Diplomas / Level 4-5 NVQ's At level 4 the individual will have a high level of knowledge in a particular subject area. Specialist learning and training is appropriate for individuals that work in technical and professional jobs including managerial positions. Such qualifications are gained from learning at higher education. Level 4 can include work-based qualifications such as Higher National Diplomas, Level 4 and 5 NVQs, Certificates and Awards and also BTEC and Advanced Professional Diplomas.