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Qualification Levels Explained

Read more about the Qualifications from SVT

What is the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)?

The RQF (Previously know as NVQ) is a government body that regulates vocational training. These qualifications are made up of units. This provides a flexible way to gain a qualification. Each unit has a credit value which tells you how many credits are awarded when a unit is completed.

The credit value also gives an indication of how long it will normally take you to complete a unit. One credit will usually take you 10 hours of learning (Guided Learning Hours). The GLH specifies the amount of time the average candidate would take including time for induction, directed study time, tutorials and assessment.

Units build up to qualifications and there are three different types of qualification from Award to Certificate and Diploma.

You can achieve an Award with 1 to 12 credits; for a Certificate, you will need 13 – 36 credits and for a Diploma at least 37 credits. Units and qualifications are each given a level according to their difficulty, from entry-level to level 8. The title of qualification will tell you its size and level.

If you have already achieved a qualification that includes a unit that you have been certificated for, you can use that unit towards another qualification. Units awarded by different awarding organisations can be combined to build up qualifications.

RQF/NQF Level Qualifications approximate comparability C&G Qualifications also include



Fellowship (FCGI)


Master's Degree

Postgraduate Diploma

Postgraduate Certificate

Membership (MCGI)

Master Professional Diploma

ILM QCF Qualifications


Bachelor's Degree

Graduate Certificate and Diploma

Graduateship (GCGI)

Associateship (ACGI)

ILM Qualifications


Higher National Diplomas (HND) & Higher National Certificate (HNC)

Foundation Degree

Diplomas of Higher and Further Education

IVQ Advanced Technical Diploma

Full Technological Diploma

ILM QCF Qualifications


Certificate of Higher Education

Licentiateship (LCGI)

Higher Professional Diploma

Level 4 Vocational (NVQ/VRQ/QCF)


A Levels

Advanced National Certificate in Education

BTEC National Certificate/Diploma

Level 3 Vocational (NVQ/VRQ/QCF)

Advanced Apprenticeship (England &NI)

Modern Apprenticeship (Scotland and Wales)



GCSE grades A - C

Level 2 Vocational (NVQ/VRQ/QCF)

Apprenticeship (England & NI)

Foundation Modern Apprenticeship (Wales)


GCSE grades D - G

NVQ Level 1

Level 1 Vocational Award

Entry 1,2,3


Entry-level vocational qualifications and Progression Awards


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