The Qualifications Jungle
Mark Wallington: Lecturer at Moulton College, guides us through the various levels of qualifications on offer these days and how they relate to each other.
Courses for Horses!
This article is designed to help those who:
Further Education Qualifications
Qualifications are organised into different levels under the National Qualifications Framework. The table below has been modified from the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority.
|1: Foundation||GCSE grades D-G||NVQ Level 1|
|2: Intermediate||GCSE grades A*-C||First Diploma||NVQ Level 2|
|3: Advanced||A level||National Certificate; National Diploma||NVQ Level 3|
|4||Higher National Certificate/Diploma||NVQ Level 4|
|5||NVQ Level 5|
NB - Qualifications at the same level are broadly comparable in terms of general level of outcome; they will not necessarily have the same purpose, content or outcomes.
First Diploma e.g. FD Countryside and Environment
National Certificate e.g. NC in Environmental Conservation
National Diploma e.g. ND in Countryside Management
Higher National Certificate e.g. HNC in Countryside Management.
Higher National Diploma e.g. HND in Countryside Management.
Higher Education Qualifications
Higher Education provision is delivered via a separate framework, set by the Quality Assurance Authority. The table below has been modified from the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority.
|1: Certificate||Certificates of Higher Education|
|2: Intermediate||Foundation Degrees; Bachelors Degrees; Diplomas of Higher Education|
Bachelors Degrees with Honours; Graduate Certificates and Diplomas
|4: Masters||Masters, Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas|
|5: Doctorates||Doctorates (PhD)|
A relatively new qualification designed to integrate academic and work-based learning. There are around 20 “countryside” type courses. They generally replace HNC/HND’s and are usually available as 3 years part time or 2 years full time modular courses. Entry qualifications are typically one A level at C or an A level vocational equivalent (mature students can often negotiate). Applications are via UCAS.
Top up Degree
For students who successfully complete an HND or Foundation Degree, this 1-year course gives a qualification equivalent to a full Degree.
A huge range is available. UCAS has a facility to search for courses by name, institution or region (e.g. the word ‘countryside’ found 61 matches). Entry requirements will vary between institutions.
Post Graduate qualifications such as diplomas,
masters, and doctorates.
Many institutions offer these types of qualifications, (e.g. Birkbeck), tailored to the needs of those in employment. Again, entry qualifications will vary, but professional experience may count towards this.
These are for young people aged between 16 and 24. The trainee gets paid and receives other allowances such as accommodation and travel expenses. Typically, trainees spend 4 days per week in the workplace, then 1 day in College. They work towards a National Vocational Qualification. The framework for the Modern Apprenticeships in Environmental Conservation has been drawn up by LANTRA.
National Vocational Qualification e.g., NVQ in Environmental Conservation
levels 2 and 3.
These are based on National Occupational Standards (N.O.S.) written by LANTRA. The Level 2 course is available via three different pathways:
The difference between Level 2 and Level 3 is that the latter assumes a greater involvement in organisation and management.
Details from LANTRA.
Colleges will differ in whether these courses are offered as ‘stand alone’ options, and whether candidates need to attend College. It should be possible for a candidate to gather all the evidence required for an NVQ in the workplace and to gain the qualification without needing to visit College.
As can be seen, there are a wide range of options available. If you are thinking of pursuing a course, you should::
If you have any comments or questions, please contact Mark Wallington. Phone 01604 491131 extension 404