Qualifications frameworks are used to describe qualifications in a consistent way which makes them easier to understand and compare. Each qualification within a framework has a level which shows how difficult it is and a credit value which indicates the size of the qualification. This allows learning to be recognised across different countries and across different institutions.  It makes it easier for students and workers to move between organisations and to different countries to work and study. 

Below are links to the qualification frameworks used by different bodies in the UK and Ireland:  

Wales The Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW)

Scotland The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)

England and Northern Ireland Explaining the RQF

Ireland National Framework of Quals NFQ

Qualifications in the UK and Ireland are compared in a document called Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries. This is updated regularly and includes apprenticeship frameworks as well as regulated qualifications.

Higher Education There is one framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a separate one for Scotland. Both are combined in one publication: The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) Qualifications Frameworks 

Frameworks can also be used to capture learning that takes place outside of formal qualifications, for example workplace training courses or learning through experience from doing a particular job. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) enables people with non-formal training and with informal learning from experience to use this learning to gain entry to formal training or in applications for employment. 

Further Information 

Adrian Sheehan and Phil Whitney are primary contacts for the qualification frameworks in FE colleges in Wales.

Related Pages

International Frameworks 

Recognition of Prior Learning

Follow Us

Follow us on social media for updates on all things further education.