Students 18plus 040NVQs/VQs - National Vocational Qualifications/Vocational Qualifications

NVQs/VQs are job-related qualifications that show you can do a specific job.

If most of your GCSE grades are graded 3-1 or you do not have any qualifications, you may start on a VRQ (vocationally recognised qualification), which is a level 1 qualification, before moving on to a level 2 NVQ/VQ.

Popular ones include: social care, retail, motor vehicle work, electrical installation, business administration, hairdressing, leisure and recreation, construction, engineering and childcare.

NVQs/VQs are practical qualifications aimed at learning in the work place including for: 
  • apprentices
  • people in work
  • students on some vocational courses at college or school, such as catering or haidressing. 
  • at 16 you usually take an NVQ level 1, 2 or 3
  • intermediate apprentices work towards level 2 qualifications
  • advanced apprentices work towards level 3.

Entry qualifications vary. You may have to take an entry or selection test. For level 3 you may need GCSEs at grade 4/5 (similar to an old grade C) or equivalent.

Higher apprentices do a Level 4 NVQ and have usually completed their level 3 NVQ or passed A levels and are looking for an alternative to university.

Assessment is through practical tests and a range of evidence that shows you can complete work-related tasks well.

Look on GOV.UK for what different qualification levels mean.


Page updated July 2020

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