The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) replaced the QCF and NVQ qualifications in 2015. RQF qualifications are regulated of Ofqual; an independent organisation who maintains the standards for GCSEs, A levels, AS levels and vocational and technical qualifications in England.
RQF qualifications are measured in sizes and levels; award, certificate and diploma.
An Award is the smallest qualification size, with the Certificate requiring more credits to complete. A Diploma will require more credits than a Certificate.
Each credit assigned to a qualification equals around 10 hours of learning. Not all of this time will be spent in the classroom. You will make up some of this time completing coursework in your own time and some in your workplace.
The following list describes qualifications which fall into the different levels:
Level 1 - GCSE (grades D-G or 3-1)
Level 2 - GCSE (grades A*-C or 9-4), Level 2 NVQ, Level 3 QCF, Level 2 BTEC
Level 3 - A level, Level 3 NVQ, Level 3 QCF, Level 3 BTEC*
Level 4 - Year 1 of a 3 year degree/Higher National Certificate
Level 5 - Year 2 of a 3 year degree/Higher National Diploma/Foundation Degree
Level 6 - Bachelor's Degree
Level 7 - Postgraduate, Master's Degree
Level 8 - Doctorate
It's important to remember that different qualifications will take different amounts of time to complete. For example, a level 3 Award might be more difficult than a level 2 Certificate, but it might take less time to complete as it will have less credits attached to it.
It is also possible to do a single unit of an RQF at a certain level. Popular options include doing a level 3 medication unit. On successful completion of the unit, the learner is able to carry out a skill without completing an entire RQF qualification.
Health and Social Care Workers
In health and social care, most carers train to a level 2, with some training to level 3. Registered Managers are expected to hold a level 5 qualification. To comply with Jersey Care Commission standards, at least 50% of a carer workforce must have completed a minimum of a RQF level 2 in a relevant health and social care course.
*Level 3 BTEC in Health and Social Care
Please note that whilst a Level 3 BTEC in Health and Social Care is awarded at RQF level 3, it is an academic qualification and therefore does not replace the RQF level 3 Diploma in Care (or equivalent), which is a vocational qualification.
Anyone with a level 3 BTEC in Health and Social Care wishing to undertake a RQF level 3 Diploma in Care (or equivalent) should speak to their education provider about using their previous knowledge towards their new qualification.