- What is the SCQF?
- Why does Scotland need a framework of levels and credits?
- What's the difference between SCQF levels and credits?
- Are all qualifications at the same level equal?
- Does the framework only cover schools, colleges and universities?
- What other qualifications are on the SCQF?
- Is it the SCQF's job to award qualifications?
- Does the SCQF measure the quality of teaching?
- What is SCQF credit rating?
- Are Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) now on the SCQF?
- How does the SCQF link with Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Strategy,Developing the Young Workforce?
- If an employee or applicant gained qualifications outside the UK, can the SCQF help employers understand what these qualifications are equivalent to in Scotland?
- What is the EQF and what are its benefits?
- Who is the EQF for?
- Why should an employer have their learning programme credit rated and recognised on the SCQF?
- Does the SCQF Partnership provide a skills audit for an employer?
What is the SCQF?
The SCQF helps individual learners and employers understand Scottish qualifications. It provides a way of talking about, and comparing, qualifications. As an employer, this will help you make better choices about staff recruitment and workforce development. The SCQF brings together all the mainstream Scottish qualifications: it gives them credit points, which show how much learning has been achieved, and a level, which shows how demanding the learning is.
Why does Scotland need a framework of levels and credits?
There are many different qualifications – for example, Nationals, Highers, SVQs, HNC/Ds and Degrees – and the Framework is a way of showing how they relate to one another. It shows that qualifications are broadly comparable, but it does not mean they are equal. The SCQF supports the Scottish Government’s lifelong learning strategy and – now that there’s more mobility of learners and workers across the UK, Europe and internationally – qualifications frameworks are the method by which learning will be understood globally.
What's the difference between SCQF levels and credits?
The SCQF has 12 levels. The different levels indicate the level of difficulty of a particular qualification, with level 12 being the most demanding. Credit points are a way of showing how much time it takes, on average, to complete a qualification or learning programme. Like other credit systems in the UK and abroad, the SCQF works on the basis that one credit points represents the amount of learning achieved through a notional 10 hours of learning time. This covers everything you have to do to achieve the outcomes in a qualification, including the assessment procedures
Are all qualifications at the same level equal?
No. The Framework does not describe qualifications at the same level as being equal. And qualifications at the same level are not interchangeable. But different qualifications can contain learning which is equally difficult or complicated and when this is the case they will be at an equal level on the framework. However, even when qualifications are at the same level, some require a greater amount of time to complete because there is more to learn, and therefore they are not equal in terms of credit. It means they are at a comparable level in terms of knowledge, skills or competence required. They make similar demands on the learner. That is why they are positioned at the same level in the Framework.
Does the framework only cover schools, colleges and universities?
No, it covers vocational training like SVQs that can give you a better chance of getting a job or getting a promotion. The Framework also covers other learning that you might do; for example, in your local community or with an employer.
What other qualifications are on the SCQF?
The SCQF aims to help people of all ages and circumstances to access appropriate education and training over their lifetime. It can cover learning that you do in the community or in/for the workplace. For example, the Workers’ Educational Association Scotland has had its Counting on a Greener Scotland programme placed on the Framework, and professional qualifications offered by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) are now on the SCQF too.
Is it the SCQF's job to award qualifications?
No, the SCQF is not a regulatory framework and the SCQF Partnership is not an awarding body – it doesn’t provide or develop qualifications. Awarding and accrediting qualifications is still the job of organisations like the SQA, universities, colleges and statutory and professional bodies.
Does the SCQF measure the quality of teaching?
No. That is not part of the SCQF’s purpose. The Framework is a way of looking at, comparing and understanding Scottish qualifications. Other organisations review the quality of teaching, like Education Scotland’s HM Inspectors.
What is SCQF credit rating?
For qualifications and learning programmes to be included on the SCQF, they must have their SCQF credit rating and level formally confirmed. This process is called credit rating. There are a number of SCQF Credit Rating Bodies in Scotland, including the SQA, colleges, universities and newly approved bodies such as The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
For more information on which organisations are able to credit rate, have a look at the Who are the CRBs page of our website.
Are Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) now on the SCQF?
Yes, they are available in many industries across SCQF levels 5-12. There’s lots more information on MAs on the Skills Development Scotland website at www.apprenticeships.scot.
How does the SCQF link with Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Strategy,Developing the Young Workforce?
Developing the Young Workforce is the Scottish Government’s response to Education Working for All. The strategy outlines a seven-year programme to offer all young people in Scotland a broader range of choices in the Senior Phase (from S4 to S6) of their school years and higher-quality work experience. It also aims to build closer connections between schools, colleges and employers.
The SCQF supports the strategy by showing the equality between vocational and academic qualifications.
If an employee or applicant gained qualifications outside the UK, can the SCQF help employers understand what these qualifications are equivalent to in Scotland?
If an individual studied in Europe and their country of origin has a qualifications framework which has been referenced to the EQF, you can use the EQF level to compare against the SCQF level. If their qualifications were achieved in a country not aligned to the EQF or outwith Europe, you should contact an organisation called UK NARIC – the National Agency responsible for providing information, advice and expert opinion on vocational, academic and professional skills and qualifications from over 180 countries worldwide. You will need to pay for this service. Skills Development Scotland may also be able to help.
What is the EQF and what are its benefits?
All countries have a qualifications system but a qualifications framework is a more systematic way of classifying qualifications, usually by a hierarchy of levels. Among the benefits are greater readability of qualifications and easier progression between levels. The EQF will relate different countries’ national qualifications systems and frameworks together around a common European reference. In practice, it will function as a translation device making qualifications more readable. This will help learners and workers wishing to move between countries. For example, currently an enterprise in Ireland may hesitate to recruit a job applicant from, say, Hungary, because it does not understand the level of the qualifications presented by the Hungarian candidate. However, referencing national frameworks to the EQF can help in this respect by providing a common reference point in terms of the level of a particular qualification. You may find it useful to have a look at the EQF portal. The EQF level for all qualifications on the SCQF can be found for each programme listing on the SCQF Database.
Who is the EQF for?
The primary users of the EQF will be bodies in charge of national and/or sectoral qualification systems and frameworks. Once they have related their respective systems to the EQF, the EQF will help individuals, employers and education and training providers compare individual qualifications from different countries and education and training systems.
Why should an employer have their learning programme credit rated and recognised on the SCQF?
Staff would receive recognition, in the form of a qualification, for the learning that they have undertaken since working for your organisation. This improves staff morale and retention, and could make your organisation a more attractive and rewarding place to work for prospective and current employees.
Does the SCQF Partnership provide a skills audit for an employer?
No, but the SCQF Partnership provides the tool and resources (specifically the How To guides) to allow an employer to carry out an internal skills audit.