Qualifications & Credit Framework

The Water Treatment Qualifications are accredited through the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) by Ofqual.  The QCF is a framework for recognising and accrediting qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and is designed to make the vocational qualification system more flexible and relevant to the needs of employers and learners.

Through the QFC, credit is awarded to learners through a unit based approach (see credit and level below)

Credit & Level

The QFC recognises achievement through the award of credit for units and qualifications, and provides a flexible route to full qualifications, allowing learners to achieve small steps. Each unit has a Level, Credit Value and Guided Learning Hours (GLH) and in some cases, units are presented individually as knowledge units and competence units.

The Level reflects the complexity of the unit and the learner’s autonomy and responsibilities in demonstrating competence and/or understanding. The level structure starts at entry level and goes through to level 8.

The Credit Value shows the number of credits a learner can achieve through successful completion of a unit; one credit is equal to 10 hours of total learning and assessment. Credits can be transferred between qualifications – but there are rules that apply, called rules of combination, which outline the number of credits required and units appropriate to specific qualifications.

Guided Learning Hours (GLH) represent the time the learner is given specific guidance or tuition towards a Learning Outcome (see below)

All units contain ‘Learning Outcomes’ and ‘Assessment Criteria’:

Learning Outcomes set out what a learner is expected to know, understand or be able to do as a result of a process of learning.

The Assessment Criteria specifies the standard a learner is expected to meet to demonstrate that a learning outcome or set of learning outcomes has been achieved.

These Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria are likely to relate to National Occupations Standards, developed by occupational experts working for standard setting organisations, and describe what a person needs to do, know and understand in a job to carry out the role in a consistent ad competent way.

Awards, Certificates and Diplomas

The size of a full qualification is shown by the title given to it – Award, Certificate or Diploma.  This is determined by the credit value of the full qualification as follows:

Award = 1 – 12 credits

Certificate = 13 – 36 credits

Diploma = 37 credits +

In the new framework, Awards, Certificates and Diplomas can be taken at all Levels as they represent the size of the qualification, not how difficult it is (see below).  

Credit Accumulation

The QCF supports a step by step approach to learning and achievement, and the unit based approach allows learners to accumulate credit over time and achieve a full qualification in different phases if they wish.  Credit accumulation is the process of putting together a combination of credits to meet the achievement requirements of a qualification.

Where qualification rules of combination allow, learners will be able to build credit and transfer the credit they have been awarded for unit achievement between awarding organisations and across qualifications. Exemptions may also be included in this process.  This allows learners to build up their units incrementally towards one or more qualification.