All qualifications must be regulated and conform to a set standard in order for them to be recognised by an employer, school, college or university. Courses that are regulated will show details of the level (from Entry to Level 8) with the course particulars. The regulated bodies who issue qualifications are:
RQF – Regulated Qualifications Framework
The RQF regulate and maintain a catalogue of qualifications which range from Entry Level to Level 8. Students gain ‘credits’ as they complete their coursework and assessments. Each ‘credit’ equates to around ten hours study time. All courses have a number of ‘credits’ which are required to pass the qualification. The higher the level, the more difficult the course will be. Scotland has a slightly different structure which is regulated by the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).
FHEQ – Framework for Higher Education Qualifications The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) relates to the higher education qualifications granted by universities or colleges, and would include degrees and diplomas. The FHEQ qualifications range from Level 4 to Level 8.
All UK qualifications that form part of the frameworks above must be accredited in order for them to be recognised by employers and education providers. Accreditation is regulated by Ofqual in England, DCELLS in Wales, CCEA in Northern Ireland and SQA in Scotland.
In Europe, The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) translates the level of different national qualifications to make them easier to understand and compare.
The Centre for Professional Qualifications (CPQ) offers advice and guidance with professional qualifications gained throughout the world.
With many adults having three of more different careers in their working life, the Government also offers a number of funded schemes to those needing to re-train. These courses range from the basic ‘entry level skills for life’ (see qualification page for details) upwards and are developed to give the student the tools to find employment or assist those looking to re-train for an alternative career. Some long term courses leading to a recognised qualification are also available free of charge to those who are eligible. The course provider will give details of the criteria required to gain the free training, which will often be aimed at the long term unemployed or those in receipt of certain benefits.