Occupational qualifications cover the skills and capabilities needed for a particular occupation or job within a sector, such as plumbing or food preparation.
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) cover various aspects of a job or area of work, teaching the skills actually used in the workplace. They can be completed unit by unit, so that you can build up to a qualification as easily as possible. NVQs are usually taken at work and show that you can do a job. There are no exams, instead NVQs assess the skills that candidates use at work and can be taken at five levels, from level 1 - for routine jobs - to level 5 - for jobs with complex tasks and substantial responsibility.
NVQs are open to anyone. There are no entry requirements, no special methods of delivery, no age limits and no time constraints. There are NVQs that suit first-jobbers or senior managers. There is no strict time limit for doing an NVQ. You can take as little or as much time as you like, depending on how it fits in with the work that you’re doing. You can even take a small number of units – you don’t have to take the whole qualification.
If you're aged 16 or above and not taking part in full time education you might be interested in earning while you learn through an apprenticeship. Apprentices learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money all at the same time.
There are two different levels of apprenticeship available to young people, but they both lead to National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), Key Skills qualifications and, in most cases, a technical certificate such as a BTEC or City & Guilds.
Some employers will arrange for you to study for your qualifications at a local college, In some cases you apply for a place on a course yourself. The apprenticeship vacancies advertised on our website will give you some idea of the range of occupations available and the types of qualifications you would take. You get an apprenticeship by applying directly to employers. You can call your local Connexions centre if you need help to apply.
To find out more go to our About Apprenticeships page.