Vocational Qualifications in the Heritage Sector
National Occupational Standards (NOS)
National Occupational Standards (NOS) are developed by the lead organisations and professional associations in each sector, often with support from central government agencies. A NOS sets out for a particular sector the skills, experience and knowledge that those working in that sector should aim to acquire. A very wide range of professional sectors now have their own NOS.
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)
Once a sector has established a NOS, those working in the sector can start to gather evidence that they have or exceed the skills or experience set out in the NOS. This can then be assessed through an accredited assessment centre which can award:
- A nationally recognised vocational qualification
- An award
- A certificate
- Or a diploma
depending on the range of skills or experience assessed. The holder of a vocational qualification has demonstrated that they have practical, real-world experience.
Current vocational qualifications
A wide range of National Occupational Standards are relevant to work in the heritage sector, and form the basis of qualifications from library management to customer care. A full searchable database can be found at the NOS website.
A Certificate in Archaeological Practice based on the National Occupational Standard in Archaeological Practice, produced by the Chartered Institute for Archaeology (CIfA) and the Creative and Cultural Sector Skills Council, is available at Level 3. Candidates for the certificate are registered and assessed by the CIfA.