SVQs are made up of units, usually between six and ten of them. These units break down your job into separate functions, reflecting all the different kinds of thing you do in your work.

Units are made up of elements. Elements break down the unit into smaller tasks. There might be three, four or five of them in a unit. For every element making up an SVQ, there are evidence requirements which say what evidence has to be gathered to demonstrate the candidate's competence, including knowledge and understanding. Elements are made up of performance criteria, which are ways of setting the standard to which you have to be able to do the task described in the element. You have to be able to meet all performance criteria to complete the element.