NVQs and SVQs combine knowledge, skills and performance and differ, therefore, from academic qualifications which focus on general learning and theory.

NVQs and SVQs are qualifications that reflect competence, and this competence is defined by National Occupational Standards (NOS). Candidates gather evidence that they have met the relevant NOS, and qualified assessors assess this evidence.

ICE and approved NVQ's

ICE approved NVQ's and SVQ's at Level 3 can fulfil both the educational base and Initial Professional Development (IPD) stages for Technician Members. Candidates who have obtained such NVQ/SVQs can proceed directly to the Technician Professional Review.

ICE-approved NVQs and SVQs at Levels 4 and 5 can also satisfy the Initial Professional Development (IPD) stage for Membership and Associate Membership but do not meet the educational base for either of these levels.
The NVQ and SVQ framework is now established in the UK, and 4 million certificates have been awarded.  

For further guidance on NVQs and SVQs  please read MGN 7.

The UK National Qualifications Framework has five levels 

Level 1 Describes competence in routine and predictable activities - unskilled work.
Level 2 Covers a wider range of activities, some complex and non-routine, with some personal autonomy and responsibility - basic craft.
Level 3 Includes more varied activities, many complex and non-routine. There is more personal autonomy, and responsibility for others. This covers advanced craftspeople, technicians and first line supervisors. (Level 3 plays a key role in linking the lower and upper levels of the framework in a way that enables progression.)
Level 4 Describes a broad range of complex technical activities, with significant personal autonomy, responsibility for others and for the allocation of resources. This includes junior managers and professionals.
Level 5 Covers the application of fundamental principles across a wide range of unpredictable contexts. There is substantial personal autonomy and responsibility for others, and accountability for analysis, design, planning, execution and evaluation. This includes middle/senior managers and professionals.

Please Note: ICE-approved NVQs and SVQs at Levels 4 and 5 can also satisfy the Initial Professional Development (IPD) stage for Associate Membership and Membership.

How to get an NVQ/SVQ

NVQs and SVQs are awarded by a range of bodies. The two primary consortia for awards relevant to civil engineering are:

  • The Construction Vocational Group: ICE and Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) - in partnership with Edexcel).
  • The Transportation Vocational Group: (ICE, Institution of Highways & Transportation , Institute of Highway Engineers and ILT in partnership with the Open University).  

More Information  

For further information on NVQs and SVQs, please call the ICE's Education and Learning Team on +44 (0)207 665 2267.

Become a Technician Member of ICE

Qualified ICE Technician Members gain a greater recognition for their skills in delivering technical solutions within civil engineering teams.

Find out more information

If you need to find out more information about NVQs and SVQs please contact the Education and Learning Team 

t: +44 (0)207 665 2267