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  1. Vocational qualifications
  2. Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We are only able to offer vocational qualifications to learners based in the UK as the qualifications are based on UK national standards.

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We offer a flexible distance learning approach to completing a Vocational Qualification and each qualification is designed so that you can progress at your own working pace. The time it takes to complete a vocational qualification can vary depending on your own working pace and environment as well as the size and level of your qualification.

Award

We suggest you should be working towards your Award for 2 to 5 hours a week.

Certificate

We suggest you should be working towards your Certificate for 3 to 7 hours a week

Diploma

We suggest you should be working towards your Diploma for 4 to 9 hours a week
 
You can complete your qualification sooner than the end date if you are able to submit work regularly and at a good pace. If you do not complete your registered qualification by the stated end date you may be able to apply for an extension which will incur additional fees
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Advice & Guidance

Level 3 Certificate in Advice & Guidance
At Level 3 learners will be:
  • giving advice & guidance in person, writing or telephone
Level 4 Diploma in Advice & Guidance
At Level 4 learners will be:
  • giving in depth advice & guidance
  • managing their own caseload of clients
  • operating within a network of Advice & Guidance providers

Business & Administration

Level 2 Diploma in Business & Administration
At Level 2 learners will be:
  • operating under close supervision
  • carrying out tasks with minimal responsibility
  • following processes or procedures already set
Level 3 Diploma in Business & Administration
At Level 3 learners will be:
  • taking responsibility for their own workload (including setting deadlines, prioritising urgent and important work)
  • suggesting change and improvement
  • supporting other staff and colleagues
Level 4 Diploma in Business & Administration
At Level 4 learners will be:
  • managing a function or project (not necessarily managing staff)
  • analysing and demonstrating an understanding of business and administration

Career Information Advice and Guidance

Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice
At Level 4 learners will be:
  • giving career specific advice
Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development
At Level 6 learners will be:
  • giving in-depth career guidance and development

Childrens Care Learning & Development

Learners will be working in a health or social care or early years setting with children and young people.  You may be working as a

  • child-minder       
  • day care supervisor       
  • SureStart worker       
  • Community nurse       
  •  learning mentor

Customer Service

Level 2 Diploma in Customer Service
At Level 2 learners will be:       
  • operating under close supervision     
  • carrying out tasks with supervision      
  • following processes or procedures already set
Level 3 Diploma in Customer Service
At Level 3 learners will be:
  • taking responsibility for their own workload (including setting deadlines, prioritising urgent and important work)
  • suggesting change and improvement
  • supporting other staff and colleagues
Level 4 Diploma in Customer Service
At Level 4 learners will be:       
  • managing a function or project (not necessarily managing staff)
  • analysing and demonstrating an understanding of business and administration

Health & Social Care Diploma

Learners will be:·

  • in a ‘hands on’ care role      
  • following legislation     
  • able to demonstrate how they adhere to standards in safeguarding, equality, inclusion, health and safety and handling information

Dementia

Learners will be:
  • working in a health and social care setting with people diagnosed with dementia

Personalisation

Learners will be:      
  •  working in broad range of health and social care related careers such as personal assistants, health and social care assistants, carers and service users.
  • registered on, or already have completed, The Open University course Personalisation in Health and Social Care (GK096) 

End of Life

Learners will be:
  • working in a health and social care setting where individuals who are supported are approaching the end of their life.

Management

Level 3 Diploma in Management
At Level 3 learners will be:
  • first line managers     
  • allocating work to team members  
  • achieving specific results
  • managing physical and financial resources       
  • undertaking some degree of decision making
Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership
At Level 5 learners will be:       
  • middle managers·       
  • accountable for performance·       
  • responsible for determining resource allocation and operation methods in their department or organisation·       
  • providing leadership and direction·       
  • planning change

Learning & Development

Level 3 Certificate in Learning & Development
Learners will be:
  • learning and development practitioners 
  • mainly concerned with learning and development practice
Level 4 Diploma in Learning & Development
Learners will be:
  • learning and development practitioners 
  • working across all phases of the learning and development cycle 
  • managing learning and development provision at an operational level

Vocational Qualifications in Assessment

Level 3 Award in Understanding Principles and Practices of Assessment - this is a knowledge based award only however learners should have a working knowledge of assessment.

Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment
Learners will be:·       
  • Working with a qualified assessor who can counter-sign their assessments
  • Currently assessing two learners completing a competence based qualification
  • Assessing performance in work against a set standard
Level 3 Award in Assessing Vocationally Related Achievement
Learners will be:
  • Working with a qualified assessor who can counter-sign their assessments
  • Currently assessing two learners completing a vocationally related  qualification
  • Assessing vocationally related achievement such as skills tests, assignments
Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement
Learners will be:
  • Working with a qualified assessor who can counter-sign their assessments
  • Currently assessing two learners completing a vocational qualification
  • Assessing using a range of assessment methods such as observation, case studies

Working with Substance Misuse

Level 3 Award in Working with Substance Misuse
At Level 3 learners will be:
  • carrying out initial assessments to identify and prioritise the needs of substance misusers
  • contributing to care planning and review for individuals who misuse substances
Level 4 Certificate in Working with Substance Misuse
At Level 4 learners will be:
  • carrying out comprehensive substance misuse assessments
  • developing, implementing and reviewing care plans for individuals who misuse substances
Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (Working with Substance Misuse)
Learners will be:
  • working in a health and social care setting specialising in the alcohol and substance misuse sector
  • safeguarding vulnerable adults
  • providing person-centred support

For further information about 'Qualification content and how it is assessed' please see the relevant section under the main enquiry page for your chosen vocational qualification.

For further information on the mandatory units and optional units please see 'The qualification structure' page for each qualification either at the bottom of the main enquiry page or underneath the qualification title on the left hand side of the menu. 

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The Open University's mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. Normally our vocational qualifications have no formal entry requirements, in relation to prior qualifications. However we recommend you check the qualification you are interested in for more details. To successfully complete a vocational qualification it is essential that you  are currently working in a relevant position in the sector you wish to undertake a qualification.
 
This means you do not have to complete a Level 2 qualification before you move onto a Level 3 qualification, for example.  The most important thing is that the job you do must be varied enough to fulfil the requirements of each of the units within your qualification. The mandatory units within each qualification confirm the tasks and functions you must be performing to complete the vocational qualification.
 
In order to determine whether our qualifications are right for you, please refer to our website at www.open.ac.uk/vq for more specific information about qualification structures.

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We offer a distance learning qualification which can be completed at home, we are not able to offer face to face support sessions, workshops, classes or other types of day events.
 
The only face to face contact you will have is your workplace observation.

You will have access to an online eportfolio which guides you in submitting your evidence through a series of structured activities. You will also have access to our learner resources website, 'VQLearner Home', the support of your assessor and the VQ Learner Support Team by telephone and email.

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Vocational study is often referred to as ‘work-based’ and all qualifications offered by the VQ Assessment Centre are vocational. This means you must be currently working in the sector in which you wish to undertake a qualification before you can register and successfully complete the qualification. For example, if you would like to complete a vocational qualification in Advice and Guidance, you must be currently working in the Advice and Guidance sector.
 
The job you hold doesn’t have to be permanent or full time and there is no ‘time limit’ on how many hours you must work during the week; many of our learners have completed their qualification while working in a temporary or voluntary position. The most important thing is that the job you do must be varied enough to fulfil the requirements of each of the units within your qualification. 
 

In order to determine whether our qualifications are right for you, please refer to our website at www.open.ac.uk/vq

 for more specific information about qualification structures.
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Advice & Guidance

Level 3 Certificate in Advice & Guidance
At Level 3 learners will be:

  • giving advice & guidance in person, writing or telephone

Level 4 Diploma in Advice & Guidance
At Level 4 learners will be:

  • giving in depth advice & guidance
  • managing their own caseload of clients
  • operating within a network of Advice & Guidance providers

Business & Administration

Level 2 Certificate in Business & Administration
At Level 2 learners will be:

  • operating under close supervision
  • carrying out tasks with minimal responsibility
  • following processes or procedures already set

Level 3 Diploma in Business & Administration
At Level 3 learners will be:

  • taking responsibility for their own workload (including setting deadlines, prioritising urgent and important work)
  • suggesting change and improvement
  • supporting other staff and colleagues

Level 4 Diploma in Business & Administration
At Level 4 learners will be:

  • managing a function or project (not necessarily managing staff)
  • analysing and demonstrating an understanding of business and administration

Career Information Advice and Guidance

Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice
At Level 4 learners will be:

  • giving career specific advice

Level 6 CDI Certificate in Career Guidance Theory Pathway
At Level 6 learners will be:

  • giving in-depth career guidance and development
  • qualified in NVQ 4 in Advice and Guidance or LDSS, including specified ‘interviewing’ units, achieved whilst working in a careers setting

Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development
At Level 6 learners will be:

  • giving in-depth career guidance and development

Childrens Care Learning & Development

Learners will be working in a health or social care or early years setting with children and young people.  You may be working as a

  • child-minder       
  • day care supervisor       
  • SureStart worker       
  • Community nurse       
  •  learning mentor

Customer Service

Level 2 Certificate in Customer Service
At Level 2 learners will be:       

  • operating under close supervision     
  • carrying out tasks with supervision      
  • following processes or procedures already set

Level 3 Diploma in Customer Service
At Level 3 learners will be:

  • taking responsibility for their own workload (including setting deadlines, prioritising urgent and important work)
  • suggesting change and improvement
  • supporting other staff and colleagues

Level 4 Diploma in Customer Service
At Level 4 learners will be:      

  • managing a function or project (not necessarily managing staff)
  • analysing and demonstrating an understanding of business and administration

Health & Social Care Diploma
 

Learners will be:·

  • in a ‘hands on’ care role      
  • following legislation     
  • able to demonstrate how they adhere to standards in safeguarding, equality, inclusion, health and safety and handling information

Dementia

Learners will be:

  • working in a health and social care setting with people diagnosed with dementia

Personalisation
 

Learners will be:      

  • working in broad range of health and social care related careers such as personal assistants, health and social care assistants, carers and service users.
  • registered on, or already have completed, The Open University course Personalisation in Health and Social Care (GK096) 

End of Life

Learners will be:

  • working in a health and social care setting where individuals who are supported are approaching the end of their life.
     

Management
 

Level 3 Certificate in Management
At Level 3 learners will be:

  • first line managers     
  • allocating work to team members  
  • achieving specific results
  • managing physical and financial resources       
  • undertaking some degree of decision making

Level 5 Diploma in Management
At Level 5 learners will be:       

  • middle managers·       
  • accountable for performance·       
  • responsible for determining resource allocation and operation methods in their department or organisation·       
  • providing leadership and direction·       
  • planning change

Learning & Development

Level 3 Award in Understanding the Principles and Practices of Learning & Development
This Award is aimed at people who don't currently work in the sector but wish to gain grounding in learning and development. Individuals could be managing learning and development practitioners but not practicing themselves.
 
Level 3 Award Facilitating Learning & Development
This Award is aimed at people who are entering learning and development practice or who have learning and development as part of their role already. It is also suitable for those who are work-based assessors wanting to develop their learning and development skills and knowledge
 
Level 3 Certificate in Learning & Development
Learners will be:

  • learning and development practitioners 
  • mainly concerned with learning and development practice

Level 4 Diploma in Learning & Development
Learners will be:

  • learning and development practitioners 
  • working across all phases of the learning and development cycle 
  • managing learning and development provision at an operational level

Vocational Qualifications in Assessment

Level 3 Award in Understanding Principles and Practices of Assessment - this is a knowledge based award only however learners should have a working knowledge of assessment.

Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment
Learners will be:       

  • Working with a qualified assessor who can counter-sign their assessments
  • Currently assessing two learners completing a competence based qualification
  • Assessing performance in work against a set standard

Level 3 Award in Assessing Vocationally Related Achievement
Learners will be:

  • Working with a qualified assessor who can counter-sign their assessments
  • Currently assessing two learners completing a vocationally related  qualification
  • Assessing vocationally related achievement such as skills tests, assignments

Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement
Learners will be:
 

  • Working with a qualified assessor who can counter-sign their assessments
  • Currently assessing two learners completing a vocational qualification
  • Assessing using a range of assessment methods such as observation, case studies

Working with Substance Misuse

Level 3 Award in Working with Substance Misuse
At Level 3 learners will be:

  • carrying out initial assessments to identify and prioritise the needs of substance misusers
  • contributing to care planning and review for individuals who misuse substances

Level 4 Certificate in Working with Substance Misuse
At Level 4 learners will be:

  • carrying out comprehensive substance misuse assessments
  • developing, implementing and reviewing care plans for individuals who misuse substances

Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (Working with Substance Misuse)
Learners will be:

  • working in a health and social care setting specialising in the alcohol and substance misuse sector
  • safeguarding vulnerable adults
  • providing person-centred support

For further information about 'Qualification content and how it is assessed' please see the relevant section under the main enquiry page for your chosen vocational qualification.

For further information on the mandatory units and optional units please see 'The qualification structure' page for each qualification either at the bottom of the main enquiry page or underneath the qualification title on the left hand side of the menu.

 

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Our vocational qualifications have no formal entry requirements and this includes any previous Levels of vocational qualifications however it is imperative you are currently working in a relevant position in the sector you wish to undertake a qualification.

The most important thing to recognise is that the job you do must be varied enough to enable you to fulfil the requirements of each of your qualification units. Please also see ‘Which is the right Level or qualification for me?'

In order to determine whether our qualifications are right for you, please refer to our website at www.open.ac.uk/vq for more specific information about qualification structures.
 

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The Open University's mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. Normally our vocational qualifications have no formal entry requirements, in relation to prior qualifications. However we recommend you check the qualification you are interested in for more details. To successfully complete a vocational qualification it is essential that you  are currently working in a relevant position in the sector you wish to undertake a qualification.
 
This means you do not have to complete a Level 2 qualification before you move onto a Level 3 qualification, for example.  The most important thing is that the job you do must be varied enough to fulfil the requirements of each of the units within your qualification. The mandatory units within each qualification confirm the tasks and functions you must be performing to complete the vocational qualification.
 
In order to determine whether our qualifications are right for you, please refer to our website at www.open.ac.uk/vq for more specific information about qualification structures.

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When you submit your registration forms we will start to process your registration, you will receive an email to confirm we have received your forms.  

A Welcome Pack, containing all the materials you need to get started on your vocational qualification will be sent to you in time for the qualification Start Date. Your welcome pack can fit through your letter box and will be sent to the contact address you provided on your registration form.

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Distance learning means that you study on your own, at home and in the workplace. The Open University’s unique style of distance learning is called supported ‘Open Learning’. It’s ‘open’ because you learn in your own time – you will read material supplied on our resource website, complete online assessment activities on your eportfolio and receive regular support from your assessor and VQAC.

You will also need support from your line manager or workplace supporter.

For more information about completing a vocational qualification by distance learning please see the about us section of our website.

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For the majority of qualifications we offer, you will normally be observed in the work place.

The only exceptions are the Level 3 Award in Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment and the Level 3 Award in Understanding the Principles and Practice of Learning and Development, both of these awards are knowledge-only and do not require you to be observed.

If you have access to a qualified assessor who can carry out an observation in your workplace you may be able to benefit from in-house assessment. All of your written work will still be assessed by an Open University assessor. Please contact us for more details.  

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You will have access to an online eportfolio which guides you through how to submit evidence towards your qualification, through a series of activities. You will also have access to our learner resources website VQ Learner Home and the support of your assessor and VQ Learner Support Team by telephone and email.

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We offer a distance learning qualification which can be completed at home, we are not able to offer face to face support sessions, workshops, classes or other types of day events.
 
The only face to face contact you will have is your workplace observation.
You will have access to an online eportfolio which guides you in submitting your evidence through a series of structured activities. You will also have access to our learner resources website, 'VQLearner Home', the support of your assessor and the VQ Learner Support Team by telephone and email.
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The start date of the qualifications is usually 8 weeks after the qualification registration cut-off date.
 
Please see information about the next registration cut-off date and start date below:
 
Registration close date Start date
15th September 2016 15th November 2016
15th December 2016 15th February 2017
15th March 2017 15th May 2017
15th June 2017 15th August 2017

 

 

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To register you will need to make sure you have read the Conditions of Registration and submitted the relevant Registration Assessment to the VQ Assessment Centre before the registration close date.
 
It is essential that you complete and sign all sections of the Registration Agreement fully to avoid your registration being held up.

 

 For more information about how to register please see our website at http://www.open.ac.uk/choose/vocational-qualifications/register

 

 

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If you do not complete your registered qualification by the stated end date you may be able to apply for an extension which will incur additional fees.

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Although you can work through the qualification at your own pace all our qualifications have stated end dates. If you do not complete your registered qualification by the stated end date you may be able to apply for an extension which will incur additional fees.

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When you register, you will see that your qualification has a stated end date. You can complete your qualification sooner than the end date if you are able to submit work regularly and at a good pace.
 

If you do not complete your registered qualification by the stated end date you may be able to apply for an extension which will incur additional fees.

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If you are paying in instalments using The Open University Student Budget Account  (OUSBA)...

On the registration cut-off date VQAC will send you an online application for OUSBA by email. If your application is successful you are committing to pay for your qualification fee in 6 or 12 months. The first payment will be taken on the start date.

If your employer is sponsoring you…

VQAC will invoice your employer for the whole fee after your qualification Start Date.

If you are paying by debit/credit card or cheque...

Payment will be taken immediately when we receive your registration forms. If you would like us to take payment on a certain date please contact us before registering

For more information on how to register for a vocational qualification please see our register page.

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The Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA) allows you to pay your qualification fee in monthly instalments. For further information about paying your qualification fee through OUSBA please see their website www.open.ac.uk/ousba

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Unfortunately The Open University does not have access to any funding for vocational qualifications. For information on sources of funding please see our website at http://www.open.ac.uk/choose/vocational-qualifications/register/information-sources-funding

You may want to consider taking advantage of The Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA) to pay your qualification fee in instalments. For further information about paying your qualification fee through OUSBA please see their website www.open.ac.uk/ousba

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Unfortunately vocational qualifications are not eligible for tuition fee loans. You may want to consider taking advantage of The Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA) to pay your qualification fee in instalments.
 

For further information about paying your qualification fee through OUSBA please see their website www.open.ac.uk/ousba

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We offer a monthly progress mailing which can be sent to a  sponsor or line manager. The mailing includes the following information:
  • Start date
  • Last login date
  • Overall progress percentage
  • Notes on progress
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We ask that learners complete the registration form and arrange for their sponsor to complete Section 6. This section asks the sponsor to confirm their support of the learner undertaking a vocational qualification and provide us with invoicing details.

If you are sponsoring a large group of learners please contact us for more information.

You can also find more information for sponsors on our website at http://www.open.ac.uk/choose/vocational-qualifications/register/information-sponsors

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Please write to us with the qualification you are interested in registering for and copies of your certificates. You can either email us at vq-enquiries@open.ac.uk or post to:
 
The Vocational Qualification Assessment Centre
1st Floor South, Joe Clinch Building
Hammerwood Gate
Kents Hill
Milton Keynes
MK7 6BY

For further information please see our website http://www.open.ac.uk/choose/vocational-qualifications/register/information-recognition-prior-learning

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If you have previously completed units from an NVQ/QCF qualification that can be matched to units on the QCF qualification you would like to register for, then you may be eligible for RPL. To be eligible for RPL your NVQ qualification should be:
  • Current – Usually your qualification should be completed within the last two years
  • Reliable – You must be able to provide the VQAC with a certificate
  • Relevant – The NVQ/ QCF units should match units within the QCF qualification you are applying for

For further information please see our website http://www.open.ac.uk/choose/vocational-qualifications/register/information-recognition-prior-learning

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