About SVQs

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are work-based qualifications. They work as a guarantee that someone can do their job well and to the national standards for their sector.

There are SVQs for many occupations in Scotland. Experts from industry, commerce and education produce SVQs, based on national standards.

How they work

Many people study in the workplace while carrying out their normal day-to-day work. There are no formal written exams. People doing SVQs collect and submit evidence, usually from their own work.

SVQ units are based on national occupational standards. Each SVQ unit defines one aspect of a job or a work role, and what it is to be competent in that aspect of the job.

Learners can work through units one at a time, or can gather evidence for some units at the same time. SVQs are assessed by an SVQ assessor. Assessment could be at learners' place of work, at college or through a training provider. Assessors may ask questions or ask learners to submit records of work they have done.

Who can do them

All kinds of people can do SVQs, including:

Range of SVQs

There are over 500 SVQs available in a range of sectors, such as:

View SQA qualifications by sector in MySector.

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) recognises each SVQ.

Find out more about the SCQF.

SVQs are available at different levels of difficulty — SCQF level 4, up to SCQF level 11. This allows for progression in the workplace.

Benefits for learners

Having an SVQ sends powerful messages to employers:

Development and progression opportunities are also available. Recognised by colleges and universities across the UK, learners could also progress to further study. Learners show they have the skills to succeed which can also result in further development. Promotion within their current workplace may be possible.

Benefits for employers

More companies are seeing education and training for their workforce as an investment. More companies are seeing SVQs as an integral part of their business strategy.

SVQs give employers a focused, on-the-job context for training and developing staff. They are an excellent way of making sure staff development programmes and business strategy go hand-in-hand.

How to deliver SVQs

There are two ways to offer SVQs: