As NVQ courses focus on obtaining relevant skills in the workplace, evidence is required to prove the candidate has been able to complete units. Evidence can be submitted in the following forms:
- witness statements – this can be provided by a fellow employee or line manager within the company or other related individuals within your area of work.
- the NVQ assessor working with you can also provide evidence that you have performed certain tasks.
- prior qualifications can sometimes count towards evidence (Accreditation of Prior Achievement)
Other types of evidence may be acceptable by your course provider. It’s important that the evidence is genuine and that tasks can be repeated if need be. The evidence needs to cover all aspects of the task required.
Evidence can be in the form of witness statements, video footage, audio recordings, projects and reports. Speak to your NVQ assessor about what is submittable and in what form.
This summer, thousands of A level students will be awaiting results of their exams which will hopefully allow them to further their education by winning places at universities across the UK. Some may not be fortunate to get into their chosen place of study and others will not be able to enter universities at all. This is by no means the end of many young people’s careers. In fact, it’s a time to rediscover what you want to achieve and there are many other ways to obtain those dreams.
It may be that an apprenticeship in a chosen vocation is the solution or an NVQ qualification, which will open doors within employment – the ultimate goal.
So if you find that your grades are not ideal to get you into university, consider other alternatives and contact further education colleges around the UK about other, more defined, courses.
Carpentry is a very well respected vocation and it takes time and dedication to master the art. An NVQ Level 2 Carpentry is an excellent choice for a vocational qualification, because there is nothing more valuable than getting your hands dirty and learning the skills required.
This course may lead you to work in schools, roads, hospitals, offices and airports and many more public or private environments.
The course typically involves working in an environment you may find yourself in as a carpenter. You will be expected to carry out practical and written assessments and an NVQ assessor will test your ability to carry out tasks.
Salary: Up to £27,000 but potential to earn more self-employed.
The units you may be required to cover are as follows:
- Health and safety. This is especially important in such a profession as you will be using power tools and handling various types of wood.
- Be able to make illustrations. Preparation is the key.
- Numeracy and communication skills
- Joining products and skills
- Planning methodically
- Installing first and second fixing
- Maintaining carpentry work
- Bench work/site work
- Erecting timber frames
- Shop fitting
Duration: Up to 2 years
According to principal of John Ruskin College, Croydon, it was the correct decision to park A levels and offer vocational courses to young students. Tim Eyton-Jones decided back in 2010 that students would be better off participating in NVQs such as hair, beauty, business and administration and media.
As we know, NVQ courses enable students to gain experience in their chosen subjects and during this unstable economy vocational subjects are worth so much more than academic subjects.
Mr Eyton-Jones wants to continue to improve on these skills and realises that these core skills are crucial in every day life i.e. how to deal with staff, how to organise your time, managements, dealing with customers or work colleagues. It’s these core skills which a number of young graduates are lacking in, so I hope other colleges will also follow suit and offer NVQs more and more.
John Ruskin College have pulled out the stops to help students in the working environment.The college has created a broadcasting centre akin to the BBC newsroom, a replica nursery for NVQ childcare courses and even a salon for hair a beauty courses.
Macs are also being provided, stepping away from the typical PC environment of the classroom.
An NVQ course level 2 in Hospitality and Catering involves a number of different units relating to hospitality and usually takes 1 year to complete.
Duration: 12 months
What areas of hospitality could I cover?
- working in a safe and secure environment.
- ensuring environment is clean and hygenic.
- maintaining supplies.
- excellent customer service
- working well in a team
- safe storage of food
- waiting tables
- preparing and cooking food
- varied cuisine such as Chines and Thai cooking
- preparing alcoholic and soft drinks
- preparing cocktails
- preparing and cooking food (including starters and desserts).
- maintaining kitchen work areas.
Supervisory and leadership roles
Our website is dedicated to NVQ courses, but it’s worth mentioning a little about apprenticeships as a whole.
These are designed to help you succeed in a career by actually working and are usually for jobs which require a hands on approach. It wouldn’t make sense to become a plumber by only studying, because the job is so practical.
As with all apprenticeships, you would need to study alongside working, which can be a challenge for some, but at least you will have a salary at the end of the month.
You will be trained by professionals with a structure programme, ensuring you are progressing well.
The requirements for an apprenticeship is as follows:
- you must be over 16
- you must be numerate
- you cannot be in full time education
- you must be a UK resident
Types of apprenticeships
Intermediate Apprenticeships (equivalent to five GCSEs or NVQ Level 2 courses)
Advanced Level Apprenticeships (equivalent to two A levels)
Higher Apprenticeships (leading to NVQ Level 4 qualifications)
For more information about the choice of apprenticeships, please visit the National Apprenticeship Service
This is a more advanced hairdressing course, where you will be expected to be a proficient hairdresser.
Entry requirements for the NVQ Level 3 Hairdressing will be an NVQ Level 2 Hairdressing diploma/qualification. You will usually complete this course in order to run your own salon or simply to advance your skills.
The S/NVQ Level 3 Hairdressing with Barbering Units is an excellent book in detailing what is required for an NVQ Level 3 Hairdressing. It details the work environment and the key skills required to obtain your level 3, along with how assessment is carried out. The book is extremely easy to follow and provides lots of graphics. The authors have also written other hair and salon guides, equally as brilliant.
Most NVQ providers will expect you to complete the following units of the course:
- Maintaining health and safety within the workplace – especially being aware of liquids and cables on the floor as well as toxic chemicals that can be used in a salon.
- Cutting hair creatively using a variety of techniques
- Dying hair using various techniques
- Providing consultation services
Example optional units the NVQ provider will require you to complete are shown below:
- Style hair creatively
- Ability to use hair extensions
- Hair and scalp treatments
- Perm all types of hair
What does the course involve?
Detailed records of your tasks is essential with witness testimonies confirming you performed these tasks. You may be given assignments and asked to sit written tests. Keeping a portfolio is essential, which documents all evidence and tasks related to your course (guidance on keeping a portfolio). You can also submit evidence of work/tasks carried out prior to your course.
The course will usually last a year, but can take up to 2 years.
After an NVQ Level 3 Hairdressing?
You can become a consultant, work as a senior hairdresser within a salon or even become an NVQ Assessor.
To qualify as a hairdresser, you will need to obtain the NVQ Level 2 in Hairdressing. This course will teach you how to cut and style hair and the usual tasks a hairdresser will find themselves doing.
This NVQ Level 2 Hairdressing candidate handbook is extremely good in detailing what is required for the course. It lists the typical tasks within a salon – reception duties, being aware of health and safety, consulting with clients and also includes practical skills such as how to colour hair, cutting hair (men and women), styling and changing hair colour. The book is written by two hairdressers, so you can be assured of first hand experience.
The requirements for this course is the NVQ Level 1 Hairdressing or 2 GCSEs grade D or above. In some cases you may be interviewed.
You will be expected to demonstrate the ability to perform the following tasks:
- Be aware of health and safety within the workplace and your own actions. This includes hazards such as liquids on the floor, cables on the floor and legal knowledge of health and safety.
- Ability to shampoo/condition hair and treat the scalp.
- Cutting hair using basic techniques
- Dry and finish all types of hair
- Style hair
- Ability to dye hair
- Consulting with customers and being able to communicate effectively
NVQ providers will expect you to choose additional units, some of which are shown below:
- Reception duties
- Promoting additional services
- Perming hair
- Ability to use hair extensions
- Twist and plait hair
Possible barber units:
- Dealing with men’s facial hair
- Men’s hair colour
- Drying men’s hair
What is involved during the course?
Usually you will be expected to keep records of the work you have undertaken, signed by a witness. An NVQ Assessor is likely to ask questions to check your understanding of tasks. You can also submit evidence of tasks/work you have undertaken previously.
Organising your portfolio is important (guidance on keeping NVQ portfolios).
This course typically lasts a year and you will need to show you are capable of working within a team.
After an NVQ Level 2 Hairdressing?
You can work towards your NVQ Level 3 Hairdressing or junior hairdressers within a salon. Other possibilities include:
- film and television hairdressing
- fashion show work
- cruise ship placements
- styling hair for magazine photography
The NVQ Level 1 in Hairdressing is the entry level course and you will be expected to gain the basic skills within a hairdresser environment. There are no entry exams, but you may need at least 3 GCSEs grade E or above.
We have found this book to be very helpful in the introduction of hairdressing. The book covers important information such as health and safety in the work place, hair salon duties, how to shampoo and cut hair and how to deal with different hair types. The book is fully illustrated and gives practical advice as well as theory.
As with most NVQ courses, you will need to get a placement within the field of work i.e. working in a salon.
For this course, you will be expected to demonstrate the ability to perform the following tasks:
- Be aware of health and safety within the workplace
- Ability to shampoo/condition hair
- Maintaining work areas
- Maintaining salon treatment work areas
Most NVQ providers will expect you to choose additional units, some of which are shown below:
- Blow drying hair
- Assisting with hair dye
- Basic techniques of plaiting hair
- Removing hair extensions
- Reception duties
After an NVQ Level 1 in Hairdressing?
You can seek employment within a hairdressing salon or work towards your NVQ Level 2 in Hairdressing.
The course usually lasts 1 year and will typically start in September.
Give your career a kick
It’s 9am and you’re arriving for working wondering why you bother with this mundane job. Then you remember that there are bills to pay and you resign yourself to a day of tasks you’d rather not do! So why are you putting up with this lousy job instead of kick starting your career by completing a course? NVQ courses, amongst many, are designed to improve your chances of earning more money by training you whilst you work. Sounds too good to be true?
NVQ courses have been around for many years and were designed to act like apprenticeships, where you learn on the job to perfect a particular skill. Now, there are hundreds of NVQ courses to choose from, so it’s likely that there will be a course in your particular field.
All you need to do is speak to your employer (usually your manager) about whether the company would be prepared to support you in completing a course. With an NVQ, there will be assessments and interactions with other members of staff, so your company will need to be on board with your decision. An NVQ assessor will need to support you in order to gain your certificate at the end of the course, so you will need to contact the relevant NVQ awarding organisation to arrange this.
Companies can pay for NVQ courses if they feel the business, as a whole, will benefit. Otherwise you may have to financially support yourself along the course (and some can take a few years to complete).
It’s well worth investigating, as it could mean the difference between an assistant role and a management role.