At long last the Care Sector has caught up with the rest of the country following the introduction of the QCF Diploma NVQ at Level 3 in Health & Social Care. For most Learners, this will be their second rung of the vocational ladder as most will already have an NVQ Level 2 under their belt. However, for the overseas Learner (notably those coming her on a Student Visa) Level 3 is very often their first step. These vast array of different Units available make this program ideally suited to them.
The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is a new program which replaces the current National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The new NVQ Diploma in Care consists of 18 Units which carry a credit value and once you get above 58 credits you are eligible to apply to go to University for example. Under the old system, if you achieved an NVQ at Level 3 in Care you got a Certificate but little else, now with the introduction of the QCF Diploma a dramatic new array of possibilities has become available. The NVQ Level 3 in Health and Social Care has come to an end in so far as there will be no new registrations.
But the name carries on as the new QCF Diplomas retain the letters NVQ and it is predicted that in time they will become known as an NVQ once the period of transition has passed. In the new order, the QCF NVQ Diploma at Level 3 in Care offers a huge number of Units to choose from. Each learner will have to take the mandatory or standard Units but is then faced with the choice of dozens of optional Units that can be tailored to reflect their working environment or their fields of expertise. With the new program the Learner is already treated differently and their pathway is much more akin to that of a student in higher education. Some difficult decisions will have to be made over Unit choices and Learners should seek the help and advice from their qualified Assessor when doing so to make sure that their choices are suitable. But because the QCF Diploma in Care works on credits, it will be possible for Learners to bring in points awarded from other qualifying courses, such is the modular nature of the program.
Remember however, the QCF Diploma (NVQ) Level 3 in Health and Social Care remains a benchmarking tool that proves that the Learner has reached a defined level of expertise, understanding and experience in Health and Social Care. The employer’s perspective is unchanged although the Learner has new avenues to explore as a result of a successful completion. Of course the name NVQ is still retained as this is a direct and exact replacement which is a good thing, previous generations of Care Workers have taken pride in their achievements and this factor has not been lost.
So the fundamental elements of the NVQ in Care have been retained but the new pathway has opened up fantastic new areas of choice that can be tailored to reflect the working life and aspirations of each individual Learner. It is hoped therefore that this does not lead to a two-tier qualification where an NVQ in Health and Social Care gained in 2010 is seen as inferior to a QCF gained in 2011 because the fundamental ability of the Learner is the same, it is only the way it is tested that has changed.