NVQ vs VRQ: Difference and Comparison

Many worldwide want to start a career or learn something that interests them/ something they came across and wanted to try. These people always sit back, thinking it isn’t impossible.

There are qualifications worldwide that many can opt for to refresh or start their career. These courses are called vocational qualifications.

There are many such vocational training courses, which are named differently or recognized differently in countries worldwide. Two such courses are NVQ and VRQ.

Key Takeaways

  1. NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) is a work-based qualification designed to provide learners with job-specific skills and knowledge; VRQ (Vocationally Recognized Qualification) is a type of vocational qualification awarded by organizations or institutions, often in partnership with industry associations.
  2. NVQs are assessed through workplace observation, product evidence, and witness statements; VRQs are assessed through exams, coursework, and practical assessments.
  3. NVQs are designed to meet specific industry standards and prepare learners for job-specific roles; VRQs offer a broader range of qualifications across multiple industries and can be taken by anyone seeking to develop vocational skills.


Vocationally-Related Qualification (VRQ) is a structured training program. By doing this course, skills that are required to do a particular job can be developed. This is a multi-level course; a national and internationally recognized certificate is also provided upon completion. National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is a work-related qualification. This course helps in performing well in the workplace.


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

NVQ, or National Vocational Qualification, is a competence-based, work-related qualification that does not require a written exam. There are no particular training programs, and one receives no 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 the practical knowledge and skills required for the job. It is a certified course with a certificate from international bodies like City & Guilds or TCTC.

So, it is a nationally and internationally recognized certificate course. It is known as VRQ in all 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 skills acquired and the practical knowledge gained from the workplace environment training program.

The individuals in this course need to undergo written exams and be assessed on the activities done in a workplace environment. This would also require an assessment of the professional behavior 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. Different names in different countries know them.

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

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

But, NVQ does not have any written tests or training programs like in the case of VRQ. They 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 acquired knowledge. They are also assessed on their activities and professional behavior 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 international bodies give the certificates. NVQ is not a certified course. One would only get a portfolio at the end of the program.
  6. The one undergoing VRQ acquires the practical knowledge and skills required for the job. On the other hand, NVQ gives competency-based knowledge and necessary skills for effective job performance.
  7. They are both internationally recognized qualifications. VRQ is a certificated course by international bodies and is therefore known by the same name worldwide. But this is not the case for NVQ. Although NVQ is an internationally recognized course, different names know it, or 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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