Level 5 or 6 NVQ: Which one should you do?

What is an NVQ Course? 

NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualifications and is used to assess workplace competence for a variety of awards across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

These awards are achieved by using a variety of assessment methods to ensure the candidate possesses the necessary skills, knowledge and ability to perform specific job or task related to their profession. Therefore, NVQs are not typically referred to as a course.

When undertaking an NVQ and competence has been demonstrated to the assessor, it is then matched to the occupational standards for that particular NVQ (Set by OFQUAL) and so on, so forth until all standards have been met and achieved. Once achieved and counter approved by your provider, the relevant qualification is then awarded to the candidate.

NVQ’s are available across hundreds of qualification sectors and vary in severity from level 1 right the way up to level 7. A level 1 NVQ is a basic introductory qualification and sits alongside the equivalent of a D-G GCSE grade qualification. Levels 5, 6 and 7 are the equivalent to degree level foundation to bachelor qualifications and so the higher up the level, the more work, evidence and study is required to achieve them.  

The title for this blog is level 5 or 6: which one should you do. We thought we’d clarify this as it’s one of the most searched questions on google. So, to start, it would start with which industry you’re in and what it is you’re looking to gain. For example, the If you are an aspiring Manager and looking to compete a level 5 or 6 NVQ in Leadership or Management then your decision is based more around the following:

  • What level do you personally wish to pursue?
  • How much more work is involved between the two levels?
  • What are employers or your current employer looking for and at what level, and
  • Do you need to achieve a certain level to be able to become a professional member of an organisation, such as CMI for example.

However, if I posed the same question again regarding level 5 or 6, but this time you work within the Construction sector, then the NVQ levels are either trade/skill dependent, role dependent or CSCS/CPCS card dependent. A level 5 NVQ in the Construction sector is typically reserved for those working within lifting and lifting operations, whereas if you were a manager, or aspiring to be a manager in general build or contracts, then you would have to select a level 6 NVQ.

What is a Level 5 NVQ? 

A level 5 NVQ is of an advanced level of study/assessment and often considered as technical. It is the equivalent to a Diploma in Higher Education, or Higher National Diploma. You would be expected to already possess a good deal of experience and hold some previous qualifications pertinent to the subject to support your NVQ journey.

Some of the most popular level 5 NVQs are:

  • Level 5 NVQ Diploma in Controlling Lifting Operations

Commonly referred to as Appointed Person (AP). Again, this just supports an already competent AP in gaining a higher level of qualifications towards their CPD and is not to be confused with AP under the CPCS or NPORS scheme for example, which is a 5-day course.

  • Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership

You can go straight into a level 5, however, the awarding body would ensure that you are working at or above the expected level before enrolment.

 What is a Level 6 NVQ? 

A level 6 NVQ is one of the highest levels of study/assessment for NVQs and often considered as highly technical.

It is the equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree. You would be expected to already possess a great deal of previous credible experience and hold some previous qualifications pertinent to the subject to support your NVQ journey. Some of the most popular level 6 NVQs are:

  •  Level 6 NVQ Diploma In Occupational Health and Safety

NOCN – Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Practice

  • Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Management

NOCN – Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Management – Building and Civil Engineering

  • Level 6 Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations

NOCN Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations Management – Estimating


Which NVQ is right for you?

As we’ve explained in this short insight, the NVQ choice really depends on you and what you require.

In all instances, when contemplating on your chosen course of study, speak to a competent advisor who can advise you correctly. Our health and safety course providers at PGL Midlands can provide expertise in these areas and would be happy to support and advise you through your qualification selection.