Framework including rules of combination

Find out about professional qualifications and vendor certificates

e-skills UK has developed the unit framework for IT & Telecoms professionals in collaboration with employers and the Joint Awarding Body Forum. It’s based on National Occupational Standards (NOS) for IT & Telecoms professionals.

IT professional qualifications are available from major awarding bodies including:

Qualifications for IT professionals

These include:

  • the Diploma in Professional Competence: this on-the-job, work-based qualification can include vendor certificates and can be used as part of the Apprenticeship frameworks.
  • knowledge-based qualifications, for example, BTEC and eQuals, can be taken in full-time education or as part of an apprenticeship

QCF and SCQF Frameworks

The IT professional qualifications and IT user qualification ITQ are accredited within the national Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

The QCF/SCQF allows learners to gain credits at each level, unit by unit, building on existing knowledge and skills without having to repeat learning.

They’re easier to understand, with the level and size of the qualifications clear from the course title.

Details on the QCF

Units - Units are the building blocks for qualifications in the QCF. They:

  • are derived from NOS
  • define what a learner is expected to know, understand or be able to do
  • are used by awarding organisations to build qualifications once submitted to QCF

Credits and levels - All units and qualifications in the QCF have:

  • a credit value – 1 credit represents 10 working hours
  • a level (Entry to Level 8) which represents how difficult it is

 The levels are as follows:

  • Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE grade A*-C
  • Level 3 is equivalent to QCE A-Level
  • Level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree with honours

Qualifications are categorised based on size:

  • Award = 1-12 credits
  • Certificate = 13-36 credits
  • Diploma = 37 credits or more

For more information on the QCF, check the Ofqual website.

Details on the SCQF

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) promotes lifelong learning in Scotland. Through the Framework learners, employers and employees can find out about all mainstream qualifications in Scotland and plan future learning. For more information visit the website at

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