The QCF is a framework proposed to replace the existing National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The framework is a new way of recognising skills and qualifications. It does this by awarding credit for qualifications and units (small steps of learning). It enables people to gain qualifications at their own pace along flexible routes
The QCF is designed to make sure future qualifications allow a flexible, ‘mix and match’ approach to meeting the different development needs of the workforce.
Every unit and qualification in the framework will have both a credit value and a level. One credit represents 10 hours of learning and so the credit value shows how much time it takes to complete. The level shows how difficult the unit or qualification is and this can be anywhere between Entry Level and Level 8.
There will only be 3 types of qualifications issued;
Award (1-12 credits)
Certificate (13-36 credits)
Diploma (above 36 credits) – not linked to the 14-19 Diploma.
In the new framework you can have an Award at Level 1 or an Award at Level 8. This is because the qualification type ‘Award, Certificate, Diploma’ represents the size of a qualification, not how difficult it is.
Each learner will have an on-line Learner Achievement Record (this will begin at year 0 with the QCF) which can be accessed via a personal Learner Number. They will be able to check their progress towards a chosen qualification, or see what other qualifications the units contribute to if they want to progress to a new goal. Once achieved credit remains with the learner to be either banked, or cashed in towards their chosen relevant qualification. Learners can log onto the website and check their own personal, validated record of achievement at any time. They can also show it to a potential employer or training provider.