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What is a VQ?

Vocational Qualifications (VQs) are work-based qualifications made up of a number of Units of Assessment. Each unit contains a series of Learning Outcomes, Assessment Criteria and relevant assessment information. Each unit is given a level and a credit rating.


For further information please refer to the information on the Qualifications and Credit Framework and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.


VQs are based on the National Occupational Standards (NOS) of that particular sector of industry. NOS are developed by employers and professional bodies in conjunction with the Standard Setting Body and describe what is meant by occupational competence within a particular job role.

All NOS are structured in such a way that they can be broken down into the following common parts:

  • Units;
  • Performance Statements;
  • Scope;
  • Evidence requirements; and
  • Knowledge Statements


Each of these parts is further described below.


Units NOS are divided into units, each of which describes an activity which the candidate will be expected to perform competently.
Performance Statements Performance Statements are a group of sentences which describe the level and quality of the performance expected of the candidate during a particular activity or unit.
Scope The Scope of a unit describes the various circumstances in which the candidate would be expected to perform in order to be deemed competent.
Evidence requirements The evidence requirements of a unit define the amount and type of evidence necessary to demonstrate that the candidate has successfully met the standard described in the performance criteria and in the circumstances outlined in the Scope.
Knowledge Statements In addition to performing an activity to a certain standard the candidate is required to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the key principles and facts which underpin competent performance. These key principles and facts are outlined within the Knowledge Statements section of the unit.


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