SVQs are changing – understanding the title is vital

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is planning to make changes to the titles of Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).

SQA Accreditation, which is part of the SQA, quality assures qualifications offered in Scotland by approving awarding bodies and accrediting their qualifications. They do this by checking awarding bodies and their qualifications against published regulatory principles and accreditation criteria. They also have the responsibility of credit rating qualifications in Scotland and have recently provided an update about changes they are making to remove the SVQ levels from the SVQ title.

The current naming convention for SVQ titles is:

SVQ 3 in Social Services and Healthcare at SCQF level 7.

The anticipated change will be:

SVQ in Social Services and Healthcare at SCQF level 7.

Although the name of the SVQ titles are changing, the level of the qualifications will stay the same.

What is the SCQF?

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) is Scotland’s national learning framework which aims to help learners, employers and others to understand the range of Scotland’s qualifications.

The SCQF uses two measures to recognise learning: level and credit.


SCQF levels range from 1 to 12. The level gives an indication of the complexity of a course based on SCQF level descriptors. The level descriptors are used by SCQF Credit Rating Bodies to determine the complexity of learning and is a central element of the criteria and principles used by the SSSC when considering qualifications for registration.


This gives an indication of the volume of study required to achieve a qualification. Usually one credit equates to 10 notional learning hours.

Following a three year pilot to introduce credit rating there are currently 473 unique Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) titles. Of these, 421 have now been credit rated against the SCQF. When the remaining 52 SVQs are due for review they will also be credit rated.

What’s happening next?

With greater use of the SCQF and the increasing number of qualifications and learning programmes, it is important that learners, employers and others are clear about qualification titles and aware of anticipated changes to the naming of SQA titles.

The SQA has set up an internal group to develop an implementation strategy and communication plan to take these changes forward.

The SSSC is now using the revised titles in anticipation of the changes.

If there are any issues or factors which you think the SQA should be considering as part of their work for this year then please send to:

22 Responses to “SVQs are changing – understanding the title is vital”

  1. Karen long

    Sep 04. 2014

    I am this year 2014/2015 doing HNC social care what qualification will I complete. When does the new qualification come into place and will it be a higher qualification.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Diane Woods

    Sep 08. 2014

    Hi Karen, SQA (Scottish Qualification Authority) is planning to change the title of SVQs (Scottish Vocational Quallifications) which are work based qualifications and does not affect the HNC Social Care.

    Reply to this comment
  3. John

    Jan 12. 2015

    I think there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Svq system. I have recently qualified from university with a degree at level 9 on the scqf, In a related field, but still need to complete my Svq to register with sssc! What’s the point in going to uni to get all that knowledge then still have to complete the Svq? Surely university degrees are suffice enough!!

    Reply to this comment
    • Ann McSorley

      Jan 14. 2015

      Hi John, The SVQ system has recently undergone a review following the revision of the National Occupational Standards.
      The point you raise relates to the requirement that the SSSC has for individuals to hold a relevant benchmark practice qualification. This is one of the Criteria and Principles the SSSC have when considering qualifications for registration. You can find further info on our website.
      One of the central features of SVQs is candidates can gain credit for recognition of prior learning. (RPL) so your degree may assit you achieve the SVQ.
      Best regards

      Reply to this comment
    • Reply to John 12-2015

      Aug 08. 2016

      Dear John,

      I have read your comment and likewise I have also been informed by the SSSC that my Edinburgh Napier University Social Sciences 2.1 BA (Hons) degree is not an accepted qualification for SSSC registration.

      I question how many university students are leaving university with student debt only to be informed that another qualification at SVQ level is required for SSSC registration. My student debt is now over £20,000 and if I am to keep my part-time role of employment with a Scottish charity I must now obtain a SVQ qualification within three years as required by the organisation so I can register with the SSSC.

      I question why I bothered studying a one year Access to Humanities Course to gain entry into university and then spend another four years of my life at university, only to then find myself being informed that my level 10 qualification is not being accepted for SSSC registration.

      Please read : Responses MS Elaine Johnstone – Jun 25. 2016


      Ms Elaine Johnstone May 03. 2016

      I believe in personal development, however when university students are graduating from university and then being informed that a SVQ level qualification is required for SSSC registration then the system is not supporting university students at all to obtain careers.

      I wonder if the SSSC have any data informing how many Scottish university graduates are being asked to obtain a SVQ qualification by the SSSC after graduating from university.

      I am a dyslexic student and it was challenging enough to study four years at university to obtain my BA (Hons) degree. When I was informed that the SSSC refused my degree, I developed feelings of despair.

      For those who have the power to look into this matter I sincerely hope that something can be done to support university graduates. Because at present there are university graduates who are being refused SSSC registration as a result of obtaining a degree level qualification, rather than attaining an SVQ qualification.I have learnt since graduating from university that a SVQ qualification seems more beneficial when trying to obtain employment which requires SSSC registration rather than my honours degree.

      Ms Johnstone

      Reply to this comment
  4. Sharyn Morgan

    Jan 12. 2015

    If I have an SVQ3 in Childcare and Early Years, does that mean I now hold an SCQF7 in the same qualification?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ann McSorley

      Jan 14. 2015

      Hi Sharyn, SVQs used to have two levels in the title: Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level and the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF) level. We have been informed by the Scottish Quaification Authority, who accredit qualifications, that we should now just refer to one level – SCQF. Please be reassured that your SVQ 3 is the same level as SCQF 7 it is just a differernt way of referring to it.
      Best regards

      Reply to this comment
  5. Gordon Shewan

    Jan 14. 2015

    I have just started work as a support worker, I had been to college and done child , health and social care level 5, I have 5 years to do svq this correct?

    Reply to this comment
    • Sandra Wilson

      Jan 15. 2015

      Hi Gordon,

      If you don’t hold a relevant qualification when registering with the SSSC you will be given five years to gain the qualification.


      Reply to this comment
  6. Thomas Mccreadie

    Dec 18. 2015

    I have a national certificate care: social care level 3. I got in 2002 do I need to upgrade this certificate for SSSC.

    Reply to this comment
    • Jane Lidgate

      Dec 22. 2015

      Dear Thomas

      If you are registered with the SSSC and need to provide evidence of holding a relevant qualification, you will need to send a verified copy of this qualification certificate to the SSSC.

      The original must be seen and the photocopy signed as a ‘true copy’ by a countersignatory from your organisation. They should sign and print their name and job title on the front of the photocopy.

      The copy can then be scanned and uploaded though your MySSSC account or emailed to Alternatively it can be posted in to us.
      Please see our web site for further information:
      If you have a query regarding your own registration please telephone 0345 6030891 or email registration on the address above.


      Reply to this comment
  7. Rob

    Dec 21. 2015

    Hi can someone please tell me if I can have another certificate for my
    svq3, as I gave it to my employer, to photocopy, and it seems to have
    been lost somewhere along the line thankyou,

    Reply to this comment
  8. James

    May 01. 2016

    I am registered as a support worker, I am currently studying a HNC Care and Administrative Practice (Clinical Route), does that meet the requirements?



    Reply to this comment
    • Sandra Wilson

      May 02. 2016

      Hi James,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Our Registration Team will be in touch with you shortly to help with your enquiry.

      Kind regards

      Reply to this comment
  9. Michelle harkins

    May 17. 2016

    I have a hnc in social care but my workplace want me to do a svq3 will I still need to do this

    Reply to this comment
  10. khylie ramsay

    Jul 22. 2016

    i have just completed a HNC IN CARE AND ADMINISTRATION
    (SQF LEVEL 7) and have been told that SSSC DO NOT recognise this qualification for registration.
    This qualification covers a vast area of both health and social care legislation and policies,involving professional conduct as a nurse or support worker within a social and care environment.
    Some students are articulating straight into second year nursing degrees with this qualification!!!
    I now, cant get a job within social care sector due to my inability to register with the sssc, all my hard work is really wasted.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rebecca Grant

      Jul 25. 2016

      Dear Khylie,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Acceptable qualifications for registration are assessed based on a set of criteria and principles.

      The criteria are that any award:
      • incorporates assessment against occupational standards or is based on the assessment of work based competence
      • is designed to match a particular function or range of functions in social services or meets registration criteria set by a nationally recognised regulatory body
      • is subject to a recognised and regulated form of external verification or assessment.

      The key principles are that any award must:
      • integrate observed, assessed practice and learning
      • be recognised in a national qualifications framework
      • recognise the importance of underpinning knowledge and a value base that is consistent with the Code of Practice for Social Service Workers.

      An award, regardless of level, will not be accepted if it does not meet the criteria and principles.

      I can confirm that the HNC Care and Administrative Practice is mapped to the skills for Health National Occupational Standards, not the National Occupational Standards for Health and Social Care, therefore is not acceptable for registration in a care home service for adults setting. This award is focused and designed for people working in a health (either clinical or administrative) role.

      Please don’t be discouraged from applying for jobs that say ‘you must be SSSC registered’ as you must be working in a registerable job before you can apply to register. Some employers seem to have misunderstood the function based nature of our Register. Please make potential employers aware that you are willing to register with the SSSC if you are fortunate enough to gain a position with them.

      If you do not currently hold all the required qualifications for a social service worker position you can still be registered subject to the condition that you achieve the required qualifications within your first year of registration (either three or five years), provided you meet all the other eligibility criteria for registration, such as evidence of ‘good character’.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

      Reply to this comment
      • Khylie ramsay

        Jul 27. 2016

        Hi Rebecca, thanks ever so much for the information and replying to my message.

        I understand that the course is registered to constitute health and not both health and social care which is a real shame as we do learn a lot about your company the SSSC and I have used their principles in numerous essays and reports.

        I have applied to articulate to second year social work degree and have spoken to the university and they claim that based on my HNC care & admin and the A I received for my graded unit that I am eligible to apple and my application will be considered… But yet the SSSC see my HNC as not applicable for registration. Rebecca do you think they would ever re-consider based on the fact the social work degree is facilitating my qualification?

        Thanks again


        Reply to this comment
  11. joyce

    Sep 16. 2016

    hi, l was a housing support assistant from 2004 and in September 2014 l changed my job to a housing support worker as a vacancy came up at my place of work within the West lothian council. From what date did employees then need a svq3 ?and is there a cut off date for completing it. ?West lothian council fund how many a year? and why do some employees have to fund there own but other employees get it paid? any advice is very much appreciated, thankyou

    Reply to this comment

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