Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs)
Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are based on standards of competence (National Occupational Standards) that describe a candidate's ability to work in real conditions - having an SVQ is a kind of guarantee that a candidate is competent to the standards that the SVQ is based on. The National Occupational Standards (NOS) are developed by Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) on behalf of business and industry - as part of the development process, an SSC will liaise with employers within its sector.
SVQs are designed to benchmark people's skills against the national standards of competence by recognising the job-related skills and knowledge people need in work. Along with each set of National Occupational Standards there is a qualification structure and an assessment strategy. Where there are skills and knowledge gaps, SVQs can be used as the basis for a training framework.
- equip people to do a job and provide them with transferable skills which are relevant to many occupations
- respond to the current and future needs of business and industry
- are available to people of all ages, and at any stage of their career
- are Unit-based and can be built up gradually over time
- can be taken in the workplace or in conjunction with a training organisation or a college
- encourage people to progress to further qualifications
- can be done during the course of people's normal day-to-day work
There are five SVQ levels:
Level 1 - basic, routine and repetitive work skills
Level 2 - broad range of skills including non-routine activities and individual responsibility
Level 3 - supervisory skills
Level 4 - management skills
Level 5 - senior management skills
SQA currently offers approximately 650 SVQs. An information sheet for each SVQ is available from our website (www.sqa.org.uk/SVQ).
In other parts of the UK, vocational qualifications are developed, accredited and awarded by different bodies. In Scotland, SQA has a unique role - it carries out all three functions. Acting as an awarding body for an SVQ involves ensuring that quality of the qualification is upheld, so that it is credible and has value, as well as issuing certificates. SQA often does this in partnership with bodies from industry which have a similar role.
Levels and codes
All SVQs and SVQ Units are assigned a '4+2' identifying code, eg:
- the '4' part of the code (G7LN) is the Group Award code - in this case it is for the SVQ Health and Social Care
- the '2' part of the code (22) indicates that it is a level 2 SVQ
These are the '2' level-indicator codes:
SVQ level 1 - 21
SVQ level 2 - 22
SVQ level 3 - 23
SVQ level 4 - 24
SVQs are now assigned a level in the SCQF (see the SCQF section) during the design and accreditation process. As a rough guide, this is the way SVQ levels correspond to SCQF levels:
SVQ level 1 - SCQF level 4
SVQ level 2 - SCQF level 5
SVQ level 3 - SCQF level 6
SVQ level 4 - SCQF level 8
SVQ level 5 - SCQF level 11