Difference Between NVQ and VRQ

Many around the world want a start a career or learn something that interests them/ something they came across and wanted to try. These people always sitting back thinking it isn’t possible to do so.


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There are qualifications around the world that many can opt for to refresh or start their career. These courses are usually called vocational qualifications.

There are many such vocational training courses and are named differently or recognized differently in countries around the world. Two such courses are NVQ and VRQ.


The difference between VRQ and NVQ is that VRQ or Vocationally-Related Qualification is a certified course that gives practical knowledge and the necessary skills for the job whereas NVQ or National Vocational Qualification is a non-certified course that gives knowledge and skills for effective performance at the job.


VRQ or Vocationally-Related Qualification is a study based, a structured training program that has written exam. The students are assessed on their workplace-related activities and professional behaviour.

NVQ or National Vocational Qualification is a competence-based, work-related qualification that does not require a written exam. There are no particular training programmes and one does not receive any certificate.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonVRQNVQ
Abbreviation forVocationally-Related QualificationNational Vocational Qualification
MeaningStructural training programsWork-related qualification
RequirementsAssessed on the activities related to their workplace and a written exam.No particular training program or written tests are required
CertificatesCertificate given by internationally recognized bodies.No certificate is acquired
Knowledge acquiredPractical knowledge and skills for the jobKnowledge and skills to do an effective performance at a job
National and international recognitionIt is a nationally and internationally recognized certificate course that is known by the same name.It is also a nationally and internationally recognized course but is known by different names in different countries.

What is VRQ?

VRQ stands for Vocational Related Qualification. It is a work-based, structured training program. One can acquire practical knowledge and skills required for the job. It is a certified course with the certificate being given by international bodies like City & Guild s or TCTC.

So, it is a nationally and internationally recognized certificate course. It is known as VRQ in all the countries and all employers are required to recognize the certificate and know the skills acquired by the graduate.

It is a multi-level qualification. There are various levels such as Level 1-Beginner, Level 2-Intermediate, Level 3-Advanced, etc. Each level shows the level of skills acquired and the practical knowledge gained from the workplace environment training program.

the individuals under this course need to undergo written exams and be assessed on the activities done in a workplace environment. This would also require assessment in the professional behaviour of the individual in the environment.

What is NVQ?

NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification. It is a competency-based, work-related qualification. One can acquire knowledge and skills that are necessary for efficient performance in the workplace.

It is not a certified course and does not require one to undergo training programs. But it is still recognized nationally and internationally. They are known by different names in different countries.

In America, it is known as ‘State Recognized Hair-dresser’ because this qualification is usually required in the beauty industry, whereas in Scotland it is known as ‘Scottish Vocational Qualification’.

Like in VRQ, they also have different levels of qualifications. The equivalent of these qualifications would be required by the employer when applying for a job. Each level of NVQ also relates to different levels of skills and knowledge acquired.

But, NVQ does not have any written tests or training programs like in the case of VRQ. They simply have a portfolio of all the workplaces they were at during the course qualification.


Main Differences Between VRQ and NVQ

  1. VRQ stands for Vocational Related Qualification whereas NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification.
  2. VRQ is a structured training program whereas NVQ is a work-related qualification.
  3. The nature of the NVQ degree is competence-based. But the nature of VRQ is study-based.
  4. VRQ requires the student to take a written exam to test the knowledge acquired. They are also assessed on their activities and professional behaviour in a workplace environment. NVQ does not require the student to take any written exam. They are not required to undergo any particular training program.
  5. Since VRQ has a written exam and assessment in the workplace environment, they are certified courses where the certificates are given by international bodies. NVQ is not a certified course. One would only get a portfolio at the end of the program.
  6. The one undergoing VRQ acquires practical knowledge and skills required for the job. On the other hand, NVQ gives the competency-based knowledge and necessary skills for effective job performance.
  7. They are both internationally recognized qualification. VRQ is a certificated course by international bodies and is therefore known by the same name throughout the world. But this is not the case for NVQ. NVQ, though is an internationally recognized course, it is known by different names or that each country has an equivalent course.


  1. https://www.hepi.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/31HEDemandto2020andbeyondsummary.pdf
  2. https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/full/10.12968/prma.2018.28.5.16
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