Standards & Qualifications

Helping you raise the bar

We are here to help people get the most out of their jobs, their businesses, or their staff. Our extensive range of standards and qualifications is one of the ways in which we help you raise the bar. We've developed standards and qualifications for the following business skills across the UK. They are reviewed regularly to ensure they remain accurate, reflect current industry practice and meet sector requirements. Each is developed in consultation with industry specialists and employers. They are created to ensure employers train their employees to the highest level and empower learners to make a difference in their workplace.

National Occupational Standards

We oversee the development and review of National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the above business skills. NOS are crucial. They define exactly what it is, in terms of performance and understanding, that individuals are expected to achieve when carrying out specific functions in the workplace. Occupation Standards give a sense of clarity of purpose, and they are developed through consultation with people that know what they're doing: representatives of the relevant business sector; employer organisations; professional bodies; awarding organisations and training providers.

NOS are flexible in their application and can be used in a variety of ways, both within the UK and internationally, and particularly in relation to training, development, recruitment and selection of staff. They can be used to:

  • define good practice
  • form the basis of competence frameworks for organisations or departments
  • provide managers with a tool for workforce management and quality control
  • design training programmes and development frameworks
  • develop job descriptions and person specifications for recruitment
  • undertake staff appraisals, and benchmark performance
  • set individual or team objectives

Sector Skills Councils wishing to import NOS into their own suites should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

Qualifications & Credit Framework

The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) provides the structure for creating and accrediting qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. QCF qualifications are designed with the help of employers, so learners can be assured they are gaining the relevant skills that employers are looking for. The QCF takes a modular approach to qualifications, enabling learners to build up qualifications step by step. For more information please visit the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation.

QCF Units

QCF units are units of assessment based upon NOS. Unlike NOS which are general resources, QCF units are the building blocks of QCF qualifications. Awarding organisations should use these wherever possible when developing business skills qualifications - rather than developing their own units - as our QCF units are widely used in a large number of qualifications across the UK. The current QCF units which fall within our footprint are:

National Vocational Qualifications

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) are competence-based qualifications which are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider. There are currently NVQs available in all of our business skills areas.

Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) supports learners, learning providers and employers in Scotland by providing access to appropriate education and training so they can fulfil their potential. The SCQF also helps employers, learners and the wider public to understand:

  • the full range of Scottish qualifications
  • how qualifications relate to each other and to other forms of learning
  • how different types of qualifications can improve skills in the workforce.

Some qualifications are designed with employers so learners can be assured they are gaining skills that employers are seeking. Through this framework, learners can find out about qualifications in Scotland and plan their education accordingly. For more information, please visit the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

Scottish Vocational Qualifications

SVQs are work-based qualifications that are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider. They are a means of recognising the skills and knowledge people need in employment and they reward and consolidate general job competence.


Share this: