Uses for National Occupational Standards (NOS)

NOS provide UK-wide, demand-led, evidence-based benchmarks of competent performance which underpin vocational learning and development, apprenticeships and qualifications across all sectors, occupations and parts of the UK.

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They encompass the employability skills of:

  • self-management and organisation of work, thinking through and solving problems
  • working with others, communicating effectively and understanding the business.

NOS are used as benchmarks to develop programmes of learning and qualifications by:

  • Awarding Organisations/Bodies (AO/Bs)
  • Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) institutions
  • Professional bodies and private training organisations.  

They are also used by organisations to support human resource management and organisational development processes.

In some sectors, demonstration of competence against NOS is required in order to run a business or practice a craft or profession.

(The above is an extract from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils NOS Quality Criteria document).

Knowledge of NOS can be used to:

  • enable employers to save money by improving work processes
  • allow employers to identify skills gaps so that they know exactly where the gaps are
  • make employers less reliant on training providers to tell them the training required
  • create better quality-assurance processes
  • save time and money in the recruitment and retention of staff
  • standardise operational processes and procedures.

Knowledge of NOS content has been extracted from the Pye Tait – Ready for Work? Report July 2011 – view the full report (PDF, 1MB)

Related links

  • About NOS- how they are developed and maintained
  • Qualifications Wales - the Regulator of non-degree qualifications and the qualifications system in Wales
  • CITB Northern Ireland (CITBNI) - Industry training board for Northern Ireland in partnership with CITB as the Sector Skills Council for Construction for qualifying the workforce in Northern Ireland
  • The ‘Register’ of regulated qualifications in England and Northern Ireland for accredited qualifications
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