The NQF is the educational framework endorsed by the three regulatory authorities (QCA, ACCAC & CCEA) and it defines levels of learning in terms of both academic and vocational qualifications.

The NQF defines levels of learning in terms of both academic and vocational qualifications. The NQF aims to:

Level Vocational Academic Indicator
       
Entry

Entry level, Certificates, Basic Skills

 

Qualifications recognise basic knowledge and skills and the ability to apply learning in everyday situations under direct guidance or supervision. Learning at this level involves building basic knowledge and skills and is not geared towards specific occupations.
 

1

Vocational Certificates/Diplomas, NVQ 1, Basic Skills

GSCE (Grades D-G)

Qualifications recognise basic knowledge and skills and the ability to apply learning with guidance or supervision. Learning at this level is about activities which mostly relate to everyday situations and may be linked to job competence.
 

2

Vocational Certificates/Diplomas, NVQ 2

GSCE (Grades A*-C)

Qualifications recognise the ability to gain a good knowledge and understanding of a subject area of work or study, and to perform varied tasks with some guidance or supervision. Learning at this level involves building knowledge and/or skills in relation to an area of work or a subject area and is appropriate for many job roles.
 

3

Vocational Certificates/Diplomas, NVQ 3

A-Levels, AVCE

Qualifications recognise the ability to gain, and where relevant apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding. Learning at this level involves obtaining detailed knowledge and skills. It is appropriate for people wishing to go to university, people working independently, or in some areas supervising and training others in their field of work.
 

4

Vocational Certificates/Diplomas

Certificates of Higher Education

Qualifications recognise specialist learning and involve detailed analysis of a high level of information and knowledge in an area of work or study. Learning at this level is appropriate for people working in technical and professional jobs, and/or managing and developing others. Level 4 qualifications are at a level equivalent to Certificates of Higher Education.
 

5

Vocational Certificates/Diplomas, NVQ 4

Diplomas of Higher Education/

Further Education, Foundation Degrees, Higher National Diplomas

Qualifications recognise the ability to increase the depth of knowledge and understanding of an area of work or study to enable the formulation of solutions and responses to complex problems and situations. Learning at this level involves the demonstration of high levels of knowledge, a high level of work expertise in job roles and competence in managing and training others. Qualifications at this level are appropriate for people working as higher grade technicians, professionals or managers. Level 5 qualifications are at a level equivalent to intermediate Higher Education qualifications such as Diplomas of Higher Education, Foundation and other degrees that do not typically provide access to postgraduate programmes.
 

6

Vocational Certificates/Diplomas

Bachelorís Degrees, Graduate Certificates/Diplomas

Qualifications recognise a specialist high level knowledge of an area of work or study to enable the use of an individualís own ideas and research in response to complex problems and situations. Learning at this level involves the achievement of a high level of professional knowledge and is appropriate for people working as knowledge-based professionals or in professional management positions. Level 6 qualifications are at a level equivalent to Bachelors degrees with honours, graduate certificates and graduate diplomas.
 

7

Vocational Certificates, NVQ 5

Masters Degrees,

Postgrad Certificates/Diplomas

Qualifications recognise highly developed and complex levels of knowledge which enable the development of in-depth and original responses to complicated and unpredictable problems and situations. Learning at this level involves the demonstration of high level specialist professional knowledge and is appropriate for senior professionals and managers. Level 7 qualifications are at a level equivalent to Masters degrees, postgraduate certificates and postgraduate diplomas.
 

8

Diplomas

Doctorates

Qualifications recognise leading experts or practitioners in a particular field. Learning at this level involves the development of new and creative approaches that extend or redefine existing knowledge or professional practice.

(Source: www.qca.org.uk/nq/framework/)