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What is an NSQ?

i. NSQ is a work related, competence-based qualification with skills assessed at both the training centre and workplace.

ii. National Skills Qualifications (NSQs) are qualifications that show an understanding of the theory of the work in progress and also the competency of the individuals as evidenced in their specific job role issued by a recognized Awarding Body (AB).

iii. NSQs reflect the skills and knowledge needed to do the job effectively and reward you for the skills you already have

iv. NSQs are about practical performance as well as knowledge and understanding.

v. NSQ standards are sector specific set by the industry themselves.

vi. The standards say what a competent person in a job could be expected to do.


The Standards have two main divisions:

i. Performance which is carried out on the job

ii. Knowledge that people need to carry out the job. In other words, they need to know why they are doing the job, i.e. the theories.

In order that performance and knowledge can be measured against these standards they are split up into separate subject headings known as Units. The Units describe the skills and knowledge needed to do the job effectively. The Units are subdivided into two categories:

Mandatory Units: are the ones that have to be completed and relate to tasks common to all activities.

Optional Units: relate to more specific aspects of a job role and enable the qualification to be tailored to suit the individual furthermore, under this scheme:

- Employees can be trained and assessed at their normal place of work

- An NSQ can be completed as a standalone qualification

- Taking NSQs could be appropriate if you already have skills and want to improve them, or if you are starting from scratch

- A government initiative to increase the skills of the workforce

- NSQs are open to all ages.

NSQs are quite different from conventional qualifications such as ND or HND, they are about showing others that people are competent to do the job. They require that people can consistently show to an Assessor that they can do the job

competently and answer questions associated with the job.



Who Can Take NSQ?

NSQs are available to adults and young people alike.

You can take NSQs if:

you are employed

you are unemployed or underemployed

you are studying at college and have a part-time job or access to a work placement

you can also take an NSQ qualification at levels 1, 2 or 3 as part of an apprenticeship

you can also do an NSQ if you are at school

you can take NSQ to up skill or reskill oneself for future jobs

you are a graduate looking for employable skills


Entry Requirements

There are no minimum academic entry criteria. However, the following skills and attributes would be helpful:

i. Self-motivation to succeed within the industry

ii. Self-discipline and enthusiasm

iii. Shows initiative and capacity to develop organisational skills

iv. The ability to demonstrate that they have the potential to complete the qualifications which are part of the apprenticeship

v. A willingness to learn and apply that learning in the workplace

vi. A willingness to work with due regard to health and safety to self and others

vii. A willingness to work flexibly and capacity to cope in busy conditions

viii. A willingness to communicate effectively with a range of people