What is National Skills Qualifcation (NSQ)?

  • Work related, competence based qualification with skills assessed at both the training centre and workplace
  • NSQs are qualifications that show an understanding of the theory of the work in progress and also the competency of the individual as evidenced in their specific job role issued by a recognised awarding body
  • NSQs reflect the skills and knowledge needed to do the job effectively and reward you for the skills you already have
  • NSQs are about practical performance as well as knowledge & understanding
  • NSQ standards are sector specific set by the industry themselves
  • The standards say what a competent person in a job could be expected to do


The standards have two main divisions:

  1. Performance, which is carrying out the job.
  2. Knowledge that people need to carry out the job. In other words they need to know why they are doing the job.

In order that performance and knowledge can be measured against these standards, they are split up into separate subject headings known as units. The units describe the skills and knowledge needed to do the job effectively. The units are subdivided into two categories.

  1. Mandatory units; are the ones that have to be completed and relate to tasks common to all activities.
  2. Optional units: relate to more specific aspects of a job role and enable the qualification to be tailored to suit the individual.
  • Employees will be trained and assessed at their normal place of work
  • An NSQ can be completed as a standalone qualification
  • Taking NSQs could be appropriate if you already have skills and want to improve them, or if you are starting from scratch
  • A Government initiative to increase the skills of the workforce
  • NSQs are open to all ages

NSQs are quite different from conventional qualifications they are about showing others that people are competent to do the job. They require that people can consistently show to an assessor that they can do the job competently and answer questions associated with the job.


Who can take NSQs?

NSQs are available to adults and young people alike. You can take NSQs if:

  • you are employed
  • you are unemployed
  • you are studying at college and have a part-time job or access to a work placement
  • You can also take an NSQ qualification at level 1,2 or 3 as part of an apprenticeship.
  • You can also do an NSQ if you are at school
  • You can take NSQ to up skill or re skill one self

Entry Requirements

There are no minimum academic entry criteria. However, the following skills and attributes would be helpful:

  • Self motivation to succeed within the industry
  • Self-discipline and enthusiasm
  • Shows initiative and capacity to develop organisational skills
  • The ability to demonstrate that they have the potential to complete the qualifications which are part of the apprenticeship
  • A willingness to learn and apply that learning in the workplace
  • A willingness to work with due regard to health and safety of self and others
  • A willingness to work flexibly and capacity to cope in busy conditions
  • A willingness to communicate effectively with a range of people


Benefits of NSQ

To Company

  • NSQs assure quality and performance - links national standards to operations of companies
  • Helps you aim for quality awards
  • Gives greater confidence in management
  • Demonstrates compliance with legislation
  • Increases productivity & efficiency
  • Help retain staff longer – saving on recruitment costs
  • Cost effective way to train staff
  • Increases profits
  • Aid to wining contracts.
  • Help employers to recruit people with the required competencies.
  • Provides proof that employee can work to industry standards in a particular job, role or discipline.
  • It shows customers that an employer has competent workforce who can provide quality product/service.
  • Can help to structure on-the-job training.
  • Can help to reduce accidents as NSQs cover health and safety practices on the job.

To Individuals

  • Installs confidence in their abilities
  • Gives a sense of motivation and achievement
  • Gains a recognised qualification for existing skills without having to attend college
  • Provides evidence of competency in a skill base, which could attract promotion or greater responsibility
  • Recognized by employers as measure of skills and abilities (competence).
  • Allows him/her to be assessed at work while doing the job.
  • NSQs are completed at a pace to suit each individual.
  • The training is highly flexible, one can choose to do a full NSQ or just units of it.
  • If she/he changes job, the NSQ can still be used on another job requiring the same competence.

To the Nation

  • It causes to improve the economy through well trained workforce.
  • Help to reduce unemployment.
  • Help in providing trained workforce for export.
  • Provide quality products and services which are competitive in the market.

Employees with NSQ’s are better motivated, more loyal, reliable and adaptable