Continuing with the industry standard qualifications could save the industry over £1m

ConstructionSkills has succeeded in saving the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) at the centre of the industry’s qualification structure. The move, the organisation claims, could save the construction industry over £1m.

The government had looked set to scrap NVQs this year as part of the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). As of September 2010, however, the new qualifications will be called NVQ Diploma.

Construction workers

As part of the new QCF, every unit and qualification will have a credit value - one credit represents 10 hours, showing how much time it takes to complete - and a level between entry level and level 8.

There are three sizes of qualifications:: Awards (1 to 12 credits), Certificates (13 to 36 credits) and Diplomas (37 credits or more).

In almost every area, construction NVQs have been converted successfully to match this new structure.

A change in direction

This signals a change in direction from the Office of Qualifications (Ofqual) who had originally planned to scrap the NVQ title altogether.

Thanks to the intervention of ConstructionSkills and partner SSCs including SEMTA, ECITB, SummitSkills, GoSkills and Skills for Justice, a compelling argument was put forward and acknowledged for maintaining consistency in the qualification sphere.

Nick Gooderson, head of standards and qualifications at ConstructionSkills, said: “We have fought to save NVQs as they are an essential part of the construction training infrastructure. They underpin the industry’s drive to qualify the workforce and are a vital requisite for workers to gain professional accreditation.

“Removing the NVQ as a qualification in its own right would have been unacceptable for industry, leading to widespread confusion amongst employers, as well as increased bureaucracy in communicating the significant changes at a time when every business is striving cut down on costs.

“Employers have been supporting us in leading the fight to save the qualifications. I am extremely pleased that we have achieved this feat, and look forward to working with Ofqual to maintain the high standards the NVQ has produced, as well as the professional regard and endorsement of them from the people that matter the most; the employers.”