NVQ Equivalents: What Is An NVQ Worth?

Getting a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in construction is the most sure-fire way of breaking into the industry. But the world of qualifications can get confusing. With so many acronyms and so many levels, it can be hard to know which qualification you should be starting with. If you need a little guidance regarding NVQs, the following article will break down each level, as well as all of the NVQ equivalents. 

NVQ Levels

Including the entry level, there are eight levels of National Vocational Qualifications.

Entry level is for those who don’t have any previous knowledge, experience, or qualifications in that specific field. A Level 1 NVQ would give you a more detailed introduction to the field you’ve chosen to study. 

A Level 2 NVQ will require you to carry out more complex duties based on the kind of job you’re hoping to acquire. You’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of the subject you’re studying. Your individual abilities will be tested, as will your ability to work in teams. 

With a Level 3 NVQ, the duties expected of you will cover a far wider range. You’ll still receive guidance, but you’ll have a lot more responsibility.

Once you’ve decided which area of the field you’d like to specialise in, you’d begin a Level 4. Likewise, if you intend to become a manager or work in a more technical role, Level 4 would be ideal for you. 

Level 5 would cover your specialty in more detail, Level 6 is aimed at senior management, and Level 7 is equivalent to a master’s degree. Gaining a Level 7 NVQ means you’re essentially an expert in that specific field. 

NVQ Equivalents

Knowing the academic equivalent of your NVQ might not be a priority. If you’re getting an NVQ to get certain jobs or operate certain equipment, that’s all you really need to know. 

But it can be beneficial to measure your NVQ against other certifications. Doing so will give you an idea of jobs you might be eligible for if you ever leave construction.

It’s worth noting that there’s no guarantee all employers will recognise NVQs for their academic equivalent. But the following list will give you a rough guide as to what each NVQ represents academically. 

The Level 1 NVQ is equivalent to 3-4 GCSE, grades D through G, while the Level 2 NVQ is equivalent to 4-5 GCSE, grades A through C. A Level 3 NVQ is equivalent to two A Levels. 

A Level 4 NVQ would be equivalent to a Higher Education Certificate (the first year of a Bachelor’s degree) or a BTEC. The Level 5 NVQ would be equivalent to a Higher Education Diploma (the second year of a Bachelor’s degree).  Level 5 is also equivalent to a Foundation Degree. 

An NVQ at Level 6 is equivalent to a completed Bachelor’s Degree. An NVQ at Level 7 is equivalent to a completed Masters degree. 

How do NVQs Differ from Academic Qualifications? 

NVQs don’t involve exams like many academic qualifications would. You’ll be assessed on your portfolio and via observation from your assessor instead. If you can prove you’re working to industry standards and your portfolio speaks for itself, you’ll receive your NVQ. 

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