About SVQ and competence-based qualifications

Find out more about our Edexcel Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) and competence-based qualifications, what they’re worth, and what you can go on to do once you’ve achieved them.

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What are SVQs?

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are competence-based qualifications that are delivered in the workplace or in settings that replicate the working environment.

Our SVQ and competence-based qualifications are based on the National Occupational Standards, which define the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to do a particular job.

National Occupational Standards are set by Sector Skills Councils or Standards Setting Bodies in consultation with the sector. This means that our SVQs are designed to meet the changing needs of your area of work.

National Occupational Standards are statements of performance which describe what competent people in an area of work should be able to do. This may include:

  • the knowledge and understanding that underpin competent performance
  • current best practice
  • the standards required for competence.

SVQs are designed for and delivered to employers in Scotland. They are accredited through the Scottish regulator SQA Accreditation and recognised on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). If you’re interested in comparable qualifications in the rest of the UK, you may be interested in our National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).

Why take SVQs?

SVQs give many people the opportunity to work and achieve a qualification at the same time. They are usually studied part time and can be taken as a stand-alone qualification, or as part of an apprenticeship.

SVQs and competence-based qualifications offer proof that you can do a job to the required standard. They are offered at different levels, ranging from SCQF level 4 to 11 depending on the sector. This means you can study at the level that’s right for your job role and level of experience, and progress accordingly.

SVQs are outcome-based with no fixed learning programme, giving centres the flexibility to deliver the course to meet each individual candidate’s needs.

What occupations do Edexcel SVQs cover?

SVQs are sector-specific qualifications available for a range of careers, from cookery to customer service.

How are SVQs graded?

The overall grade for each qualification is a ‘pass’. To achieve this, you must pass all the required units studied on the course.

How are SVQs assessed?

Your assessment is based on the practical activity you undertake in the workplace and a portfolio of evidence to show that you meet occupational standards. A qualified assessor will observe you while you’re at work and question you to test your knowledge and understanding.

SVQs are assessed internally, with all internal assessment quality assured by qualified standards verifiers (SVs).

What can I do once I’ve taken an SVQ?

SVQs are designed to enhance your promotion prospects by allowing you to learn and demonstrate new skills.

Once you’ve completed your course, you may decide you want to continue with further training, such as an SVQ at the next level or another related professional qualification.

If you've studied an SVQ at SCQF level 5 or above, you could also achieve a full Scottish Modern Apprenticeship by completing the remaining qualifications in the framework including the BTEC Specialist qualification for the sector, if required.

Next steps

To see what occupations our SVQs cover, visit the SVQs homepage.