NVQs are work-related, competence based qualifications and reflect the skills and knowledge needed to do a job effectively.
The central feature of NVQs is the National Occupational Standards (NOS) on which they are based. NOS are statements of performance standards which describe what competent people in a particular occupation are expected to be able to do. They cover all the main aspects of an occupation, including current best practice, the ability to adapt to future requirements and the knowledge and understanding which underpins competent performance.
NVQs are available to anyone at any age of stage of their career - and there are no entry qualifications. NVQs are flexible and accessible - within reasonable limits, you can decide the pace, place and way in which you learn. Most people working towards an NVQ are in work but they are available to others through a number of initiatives.