Qualifications Framework


AQA Sample CertificateAwarding bodies design and award qualifications which recognise the skills, knowledge and understanding achieved by a student at a particular level and in a particular subject.

The awarding bodies will check that the courses they accredit are being delivered to their quality standards. This means that you can be sure that when you obtain a qualification accredited by an awarding body you have reached a standard that is consistent throughout the world.
All of our courses are independently accredited from long-established awarding organisations with qualifications such as BTEC, NVQ, NCFE, and A-Level. It's easier to get a job when you have an employer recognised qualification.
Each independent award body perform detailed, rigorous checks to ensure our courses meet their high standards.
Awarding bodies we work with:

Ascentis is a Qualifications & Curriculum Authority (QCA)-approved national awarding body that designs user-friendly qualifications and supports these with the highest possible standard of customer service. Unusually, it is also a Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)-licensed Authorised Validating Agency for Access to Higher Education.

Ascentis was established in 1975 as a partnership scheme between universities and colleges of further education. It was the very first "Open College" and its initial aim was to provide innovative Access to Higher Education Qualifications for adult learners. Over the past thirty one years the membership has increased significantly and the portfolio of qualifications has expanded to include a wide range of curriculum areas.
Tel: 01524 845046
Why choose Ascentis?
  • Ascentis aims to 'provide a consistently high standard of service to all centres across the country and in recent years to its increasing cohorts of overseas learners'
  • Ascentis is the only 'Open College' to become a National Awarding Body, approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
  • Ascentis is now accrediting learners in a number of countries around the world including Cyprus, Taiwan and Argentina.
A' Levels
A' Levels are the traditional and most trusted UK qualification. A Levels are typically studied by school leavers aged 16-18 and are used as access to University. However mature students are also highly encouraged. A' Levels are awarded by 3 major boards – AQA, OCR, Edexcel
Why choose A-Levels?
  • Universities will require applicants to have a certain amount of UCAS points for admission, which will be gained through A-Level qualifications
  • All major boards are regulated by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) :AQA, OCR, Edexcel.
  • The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) represents the awarding bodies, and helps to create common standards, regulations and guidance.
CACHE is the UK's only specialist awarding organisation for the children and adult care sectors. CACHE continue to develop the most up to date and relevant qualifications for the new QCF and work closely with Sector Skills Councils to ensure the highest level of quality and a cutting-edge service to their customers, our learners, and the sector.
Why choose CACHE?    
  • CACHE qualifications are widely recognised and perfect for anyone who wants to start a career in child care.
  • From beginner to advanced level qualifications- there is a CACHE course to suit all experience levels, so you can go from novice to professional child carer with a CACHE NVQ.
BTECs are suited to people who do not wish to have a formal examination, as assessment is entirely coursework-based

Why choose BTEC?

  • BTECs are suited to people who do not wish to have a formal examination, as assessment is entirely coursework-based.
  • The BTEC level 3 courses are equivalent to a full A-Level.
  • Demonstrate to potential employers that you are educated to a nationally-recognised standard.

EDI is an accredited Awarding Body and leading international education company. Its services include accredited vocational and professional qualifications, online performance measures for schools and assessment solutions for awarding bodies and companies.

EDI was formed in December 2002 by the merger of GOAL plc with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board (LCCIEB).  LCCI qualifications have been offered since 1887, and are respected around the world as passports to both employment and higher education.

EDI works in collaboration with industry, governments, universities and professional bodies, around the world to ensure its qualifications and assessments are accredited, recognised and relevant.
Tel:+44 (0)8707 202 909

Why Choose EDI?

  • Accredited by the UK regulatory authorities to award over 370 vocational qualifications and quality assure over 400 training programmes.
  • EDI's expertise is in quality assuring work-based training programmes, working closely with training organisations, further education colleges and employers.
  • EDI's vocational qualifications are developed in collaboration with industry and used by students and employers as a benchmark for practical skills and quality.
 The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers is the largest bookkeeping institute in the world. It promotes and maintains the standards of bookkeeping as a profession, through the establishment of a series of relevant qualifications and the award of grades of membership that recognise academic attainment, working experience and competence. 
Why Choose ICB?
The Institute's objectives are:
  • To promote bookkeeping as a profession
  • To enable bookkeeping to gain recognition as an integral part of the financial profession
  • To promote training in the principles of bookkeeping
  • To develop personal study skills and improve confidence of those persons who undertake a course in bookkeeping
  • To enable the achievement of a qualification, which may be used to enhance prospects for progression into higher levels of study.
  • To improve the career prospects of its members.
  • Consultation with commerce and industry has confirmed and amplified the Institute's assessment of the need for qualified bookkeepers. Employers both large and small are fully supportive of the objectives of The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.

NCFE is recognised as an awarding body by The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) in England, the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland, and the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

NCFE is a registered accreditor and has a strong heritage in learning, going back over 150 years. Accreditation by NCFE is a guarantee of quality. It means that this learning programme has been scrutinised and approved by an independent panel of experienced educational professionals and is quality audited by NCFE.

Why choose NCFE?

  • NCFE aim 'to promote and advance the education and training of young persons and adults'.
  • NCFE have over 300,000 learners who choose NCFE to help them move their careers forward.
  • Add value to your CV with key skills that are required by employees.
OLQA stands for Open Learning Quality Association. The purpose of the Association is to provide Quality Assurance to Distance Learning providers and courses following a set of Quality Standards. Only providers and courses which meet these standards can be approved by the OLQA.
Why choose OLQA?
  • OLQA promote high quality distance learning, online learning, home study and open learning courses via the world wide web.
  • Centres and courses are assessed on a range of criteria including both operational and academic areas to ensure distance learning courses are delivered in a high quality and professional manner. 

Microsoft of the most recognised brands in computing, Microsoft offer a series of programmes to certify trained experts in Microsoft products, making it easier for employers to know who to hire to take care of their Windows network, or provide technical support & training for software like Excel or Word

Why choose Microsoft?

  • Microsoft is the leading provider of IT certification.
  • I.T. and computing is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
  • Programmes are designed to provide the recognition you need to help you excel in your career and provide employers with validation of your skills.
  • Make your CV stand out by proving that you have the skills required to perform the job.
  • As most companies in the UK use Microsoft software, employers know who to hire to take care of their Windows network, or provide technical support & training for software like Excel or Word.

Sage accounts software has been regarded as the industry standard for accounts teams & bookkeepers since its launch in 1984.
Why choose SAGE?
  • Regarded as one of the industry leaders for bookkeeping, more businesses will be looking to employ those who are SAGE certified.
  • SAGE employs over 2000 staff and is constantly opening up new job vacancies.
  • Over 14,000 accountants in the UK use SAGE software, and this figure is always increasing.
  • SAGE is the leading provider of customer PAYE data to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
  • Using the free software you'll learn how to use SAGE just as you would in a real business situation.

Active IQ is one of the UK’s leading Ofqual approved awarding organisations, covering Health, Fitness, Sport and Recreation. 
Why Choose Active IQ? 
  • Active IQ has over 50 accredited qualifications from QCF Levels 1-4, and Key Skills Levels 1-2.
  • Active IQ has over 450 approved training providers who offer our qualifications both nationally and internationally.
  • Active IQ  are committed to offering a high level of service at all times. 

Cisco is a name synonymous with IT and is respected as a top networking qualification provider worldwide. Become skilled at working with medium sized network routing and switching with our Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) course training. 
Why Choose CISCO? 
  • Cisco network courses are becoming essential for anyone wanting to work in networking, and give a good grounding in general networking to anybody interested in any aspect of I.T.
  • Each course features online learning material and teaching from experienced network engineers and lecturers. 

NVQ, VRQ & SVQ Simplified:
There are hundreds of qualifications and awards. We have simplified these for you so that you have a quick and easy home learning comparison.
While this isn't an exhaustive list of qualifications available, it should give you a good indication of how qualifications compare.
For further information, Please call one of our friendly course advisors at 0800 009 6249.

UKLC Qualifications
England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Level 1`
Level 1
Level 4
Level 3
NCFE Level 1 Award
NVQ Level 1
Level 1 Certificate
GCSEs at grade D-G
Intermediate 1
General Standard Grade
Level 3 Certificate
Junior Certificate
Level 2
Level 2
Level 5
Level 4
Ascentis Level 2 Diploma
NCFE Level 2 Certificate
NVQ Level 2
Level 2 Certificate
GCSEs at grade A*-C
Intermediate 2
Credit Standard Grade
Level 4 Certificate
Leaving Certificate
Level 3
Level 3
Level 6
Level 5
Ascentis Level 3 Diploma
NCFE Level 3 Diploma
NVQ Level 3
Level 5 Certificate
Leaving Certificate
Level 4
Level 4
Level 7
Level 6
Ascentis Level 4 Diploma
NCFE Level 4 Diploma
NVQ Level 4
Advanced Higher
Higher National Certificate
Certificate of Higher Education
Advanced Certificate
Higher Certificate
Level 5 to 8
Level 5 to 8
Level 8 and 11
Level 7 to 9
NCFE Level 5 to 8 Diploma
These levels include professional and work-based qualifications such as Higher National Diplomas, Level 4 and 5 NVQs, BTEC Professional and Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards. They involve specialist learning and high level knowledge of an area of work or study appropriate for people working in technical and professional jobs or managerial roles. These qualifications are equivalent to those provided by universities and other higher education institutions.

What is the QCF?
The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is a framework that is replacing the existing National Qualifications Framework (NQF). It is a new way of recognising skills and qualifications, by awarding credit for qualifications and units (small steps of learning). It enables people to gain qualifications at their own pace along flexible routes.
There are eight levels within the QCF, entry and level 1 which forms the Foundation Learning Tier and levels 2 - 8. The level of the units and qualifications shows the difficulty level. Each unit and qualification will have a credit value which reflects how much time it takes for a learner to complete. 10 hours of learning is equal to 1 credit. There will be three sizes of qualification in the QCF:
  • Awards (1- 12 credits)
  • Certificates (13 - 36 credits)
  • Diplomas (37+ credits)
Every unit and qualification in the framework will have both a credit value and a level:
·         one credit represents 10 hours of average learning time and so the credit value shows how much time it takes to complete.
·         the level shows how difficult the unit or qualification is and this can be anywhere between entry level and level 8.
The QCF is designed to make sure future qualifications allow a flexible, 'mix and match' approach to meeting the different development needs of the workforce. (Download the Introduction to the Qualification & Credit Framework)



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