The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is a new system that replaced the existing National Qualifications Framework (NQF) with effect from 1st January 2011 (for NVQ L2 and L3) and from 1st April 2011 for NVQ L4 and the LMC (the two will be combined to form a new award called the QCF Diploma Level 5). 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.
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.
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 care sector currently has vocational qualifications at levels 2, 3 and 4, and this will consolidate into L2, L3 and L5 with the development of the QCF.
There are three sizes of qualification in the QCF:
- Award (1-12 credits)
- Certificate (13-36 credits)
- Diploma (above 36 credits) – not linked to the 14-19 Diploma.
In the new framework you can have an award at level 1 or an award at level 8. This is because the qualification type ‘award, certificate, diploma’ represents the size of a qualification, not how difficult it is.
Most people are asking for a direct comparison with the old NVQ’s and this is difficult because the new framework is complex (there are over 100 Units to choose from at present). Therefore, TutorCare, like most work based training providers have produced “suggested packages” at L2 and L3 that reflect the content of the former NVQ’s which allow the learner to cover all the most important aspects. Obviously the pathway differs for those taking the Children and Young Persons (rather than Elderly/Dementia care) options but we now have packages at both levels that include 18 Units (9 of which are mandatory) that with allow the learner to achieve a QCF Diploma with the required amount of credits (46 at L2 and 58 at L3) without the need to peruse all 100 optional Units.