Understanding our qualifications

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)

The SCQF - Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework - is the qualification reference framework used within Scotland. This page provides information on the SCQF and shows how its levels compare with the Qualifications and Credit Framework used within England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the European Qualifications Framework used in mainland Europe.

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What is a qualification framework? 

Qualification frameworks are designed to help you make informed decisions about the qualifications you need. Each framework has a set of levels from which you can identify clear progression routes.

The SCQF framework is regulated by the SCQF Partnership to ensure that all qualifications within the frameworks are of high quality and meet the needs of students, employers and higher education.

What are levels?

The SCQF has 12 levels, and the level of a qualification shows how difficult the learning is. Qualifications that share the same level:

  • are broadly similar in terms of the demand
  • can be very different in terms of content and duration.

How do SCQF levels compare with other qualification frameworks?

The table below shows a rough comparison of the levels on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

12 8 8
11 7 7
10/9 6 6
8/7 5/4 5
6 3 4
5 2 3
4 1 2
3 Entry Level 3 1
2 Entry Level 2  
1 Entry Level 1  

How does the SCQF help employers? 

As an employer, you’ll not only see different qualifications on CVs, but you’ll also be able to offer more opportunities for your employees to improve and develop their skills. The SCQF helps you understand and compare these qualifications, including:

  • recruiting the right team with the right skills for the job
  • avoiding costly mistakes in recruitment and training
  • recognising what further skills your employees need
  • recognising employees’ formal and informal learning and helping them progress further (a process known as Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL)
  • gaining credit for internal training programmes in order to raise your company’s profile and attract skilled employees.

Tools for employers

There are a number of tools to help you use the Framework effectively.

  • The SCQF Employer Guide: This guide will help you understand how to use the Framework for effective recruitment and best HR practices.

  • The SCQF Level Descriptors: This will help you write a detailed job description and person specification. Employees can use this to map out job skills and competencies for job roles.
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