Qualifications

You will have heard people talking about different qualifications from GCSEs to degrees.

You probably know that A Levels are a higher level of qualification than a GCSE but do you know how all these qualifications relate to each other? Where do the new diplomas fit in against Apprenticeships?

Well, all qualifications fit into a national framework.

The framework has nine levels that people often use as shorthand to describe the qualifications needed for a particular job or course.

E (Entry Level qualifications)

All Entry Level qualifications are called Entry Level Certificates. They focus on a particular subject or area in which they develop:

  • Basic knowledge
  • Skills
  • Understanding

They build confidence and help people to prepare for further learning, work and independent living.

L1 (Level 1 qualifications)

These qualifications include:

  • National Vocational Qualifications at Level 1
  • GCSEs achieved at grades D-G
  • The Foundation Diploma
  • BTEC Introductory Certificates and Diplomas
  • City & Guilds Foundation Awards

They improve basic knowledge, understanding and skills in a subject, a specific work area or a broad economic sector.

They help you to use your learning in everyday situations and tasks.

They will also help to prepare you for other Level 1 qualifications and for qualifications at Levels 2 and 3.

L2 (Level 2 qualifications)

These qualifications include:

  • National Vocational Qualifications at Level 2
  • GCSEs achieved at grades A*- C
  • The Higher Diploma
  • The BTEC First Diploma
  • City & Guilds Intermediate Awards
  • Young Apprenticeships

They build your knowledge, understanding and skills in a subject, a specific work area or a broad economic sector.

They enable you to use your learning in a wide range of tasks and also help you to prepare for other Level 2 qualifications and for qualifications at Level 3.

Most employers use this level as their minimum entry requirement.

L3 (Level 3 qualifications)

These qualifications include:

  • National Vocational Qualifications at Level 3
  • AS and A Levels
  • The Advanced and Progression Diplomas
  • The International Baccalaureate
  • The BTEC National Award
  • City & Guilds Advanced Awards.

They develop your detailed knowledge, understanding and skills in a subject, a specific work area or a broad economic sector.

They help you to use your learning in a wide range of tasks and situations. They also help you to prepare for other Level 3 qualifications and for qualifications at Level 4.

Universities require most applicants to be qualified to this level. Employers will increasingly look for applicants who are qualified to at least this level.

L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 [Levels 4 to 8]

These qualifications include:

  • National Vocational Qualifications at Levels 4 and 5
  • Foundation degrees
  • Honours degrees
  • Higher National Certificates and Diplomas
  • Specialist professional qualifications
  • Postgraduate qualifications

They involve in-depth learning about a specific occupational role or area of study.

They help you to become specialists in your area of learning or work.

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