National Qualifications Framework
The National Qualifications Framework chart shows the different routes that can be taken to gain a degree - work-based learning (Apprenticeships and NVQs), vocationally related (e.g. BTEC qualifications) and academic (GCEs and GCSEs).
The New Diplomas are not shown in the chart but they sit at the appropriate levels - Advanced Diploma at Level 3, Higher Diploma at Level 2 and Foundation Diploma at Level 1. For more information on Diplomas, go to Diplomas. The Diplomas are currently being reviewed by the coalition Government and some have already been downgraded in terms of their GCSE equivalency.
Qualifications and Credit Framework
The NQF is being replaced by the QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework). This is a new framework containing vocational (or work-related) qualifications that are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The qualifications are made up of units that are worth credits, which can be built up to full qualifications of different sizes over time. Units and qualifications also range in difficulty, from entry level to level 8 (similar to the levels in the NQF). The NVQs in an Apprenticeship framework are gradually being assigned values in the QCF. Some Sector Skills Councils, such as Skills for Health, are choosing to replace their NVQs with a new Diploma qualification, while other SSCs will maintain the NVQ within the framework structure.
To find out more about the QCF click here.