USING SVQsYou may already know how easy SVQs are to administer, and how little disruption to the normal work-schedule they cause, but let's just think about what SVQs are, for a moment. You probably know that SVQs are work-based qualifications which are based on national standards of competence drawn up by representatives from each industry. You will probably also know already that this means that when someone has an SVQ, there is a guarantee that they have the skills and knowledge they need to do the job. Briefly, the way they work is this:
- you identify candidates for particular SVQs, and match their skills to the skills covered by the qualification
- the candidates go through a period of training (if they need it) and are assessed against the standards for the qualification - this process can be on-going and can be repeated as often as necessary
- successful candidates are awarded the qualification
The first thing you have to do when you use SVQs is to match the skills and knowledge of your potential candidates to the standards for the qualification - the standards are definitions of competence for the occupational area the SVQ covers.
What this gives you, as well as a candidate for an SVQ, is a good idea of where you might be falling short of the nationally-agreed quality standards in terms of the skills-levels in your organisation, and where there might be room for improvement.
In effect, starting the SVQ process means doing a sort of skills and knowledge quality audit in your organisation (though you don't, of course, have to cover everybody all at once). This in itself is a distinct advantage.
Once training and development are underway and people are achieving SVQs, many employers begin to notice material benefits. These can include:
- improved turnover/throughput/output
- improved staff morale
- higher quality of service
- fewer costly errors
Improved Market Position and Image
Once they've achieved SVQs, your staff will be seen to be competent - they, and you, will be able to prove that they are reliable and up to the job they are being asked to do. If you value a reputation for quality goods and services, this will be an important consideration for you. Because they're based on national quality standards, SVQs are a real and meaningful badge of quality.
One of the country's leading confectionery makers, says that, as well as benefits in terms of greater efficiency and less downtime, their SVQ programme has impressed customers - two leading retailers recently rated the firm's standards as 40% higher than comparable confectionery makers.