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Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are work-based qualifications. They work as a guarantee that someone can do their job well and to the national standards for their sector.

What’s involved?

Candidates doing SVQs build up and submit evidence, usually from their day-to-day work – there are no formal written exams. SVQs specify the skills, knowledge, and understanding needed to do a job to the national standards of competence. The evidence that learners accumulate and submit is assessed against these standards. Learners can work through units one at a time, or can gather evidence for a number of units at the same time. 

SVQs are assessed by an SVQ assessor. Assessment could be at the learner’s place of work, at college or through a training provider (like GCVS). Assessors may ask questions or ask learners to submit records of work they have done
Each SVQ is measured on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) from SCQF level 4 to SCQF level 1


Professional Development Awards (PDAs) are flexible qualifications usually designed for those already in a career who are looking to broaden or enhance their skills. However, they are also ideal for helping young people, graduates and other adult learners.

What’s involved?

PDAs are made up of Units and have specific aims that relate to occupational areas They are linked to National Occupational Standards. Each unit will specify the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for the unit.

Each PDA is measured on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) from Levels 6 – 12.

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