The process of gaining an NVQ is flexible and depends on your needs. At the beginning of the process, your assessor will review your existing competence in relation to the standards and identify the most suitable NVQ. The level you start at will depend on the type and breadth of your current job role together with your past experience, skills and any relevant prior learning.


To achieve an NVQ, or a unit of an NVQ, you must:

  • demonstrate you meet the requirements of the performance criteria by collecting appropriate evidence as specified by the evidence requirements. This evidence is assessed against the national standards by a qualified assessor, who will be allocated to you by your centre. This will usually be someone who knows you, such as a manager or supervisor.

Evidence may come from:


  • the accreditation of prior learning - where evidence relates to past experience or achievements
  • current practice - where evidence is generated from a current job role
  • a programme of development - where evidence comes from assessment opportunities built into a learning/training programme whether at, or away from the workplace
  • a combination of these.

Assessment is based on what you can do and involves you (the candidate), your assessor, an internal verifier and an external verifier.

You will be asked to prove you are competent by providing evidence which shows:

  • you can perform all the specified tasks consistently to the required standard
  • you understand why you are doing things (knowledge and understanding)
  • you can apply the required skills in different ways (evidence requirements).

Assessment is flexible and you can be awarded a certificate for each unit you successfully achieve, even if you do not complete the full NVQ. There is no set period of time in which you need to complete a unit or NVQ. However, you and your assessor should still set target dates for completing each unit. Be realistic though, as there are many factors such as your previous experience, demands within your workplace and an availability of resources which will affect how quickly you are able to achieve the qualification.

To claim competence for an NVQ unit you need to gather evidence which shows you have met the standards. It is important that your evidence is easily understood so that it can be checked against the standards, by both your assessor and the awarding body.

Evidence can take many forms including:

  • direct observation of your performance by your assessor
  • products of your work
  • authenticated statement - witness testimony
  • personal statement
  • outcomes from questioning
  • outcomes from simulation
  • case studies
  • assignments or projects
  • Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) - evidence from the past.