The Construction NVQ and its equivalents are designed to give you structured training in your chosen building trade. You start at Level 1 and work your way up to Level 4. City and Guilds qualifications run a roughly equivalent set of grading levels, as do industry-specific qualifications.
The Construction NVQ Level 1 is a nominal equivalent to a Trainee or Apprentice position – or to an operative who has Basic Site Skills only.
Once you have enrolled in an actual Construction NVQ or equivalent course, you will initially be aiming for Level 2.
Level 2 and the CSCS Card
While you are studying for your Level 2 Construction NVQ, you can get a Red CSCS Card for Trainees. As soon as you achieve Level 2, you can exchange this for a Blue CSCS Card for Skilled Workers. Typically from starting as an Apprentice to achieving your Blue CSCS Card is three years of on the job training and examination. Now you’re ready to expand your skills with further NVQ (or related course) Levels, perhaps NVQ Level 3 which will enable you to get a Gold CSCS card and work as a supervisor.
On Site Assessment
The Construction NVQ can be assessed on site, meaning you can earn while you learn . You will be expected to spend minimal time at the college in which your NVQ is based – a normal split for an Apprentice doing a NVQ is four days on the job and one day at college. Your employer is often able to claim funding to employ you as an Apprentice.
A qualified On Site Assessor watches you at work to ensure that you pass your compulsory and elective modules. The On Site Assessor does not ask you to perform specific tasks, like an exam. He or she is qualified to decide when you have sufficient ability in a given area to pass a module.
How Long Does On Site Assessment Take?
On Site Assessment for your NVQ takes varying lengths of time, depending on your existing levels of experience. As noted above, the average length of time for an Apprentice to achieve his or her Construction NVQ Level 2 is around three years. However, if you are studying for consecutive NVQ Levels to get up to a level commensurate with your existing skills, you can achieve the results you need in a matter of weeks.
The Anatomy of the Construction NVQ
At any Level, the Construction NVQ is split between compulsory modules and elective modules. Depending on the NVQ Level you are currently aiming for and the specific building trade in which you work, you will be required to take different numbers and types of compulsory module and will have greater or lesser choice in your elective modules.
Most Construction NVQ Levels repeat earlier modules but in more detail. So for example, the Carpentry NVQ Level 2 includes elective modules on installing first and second fixing components in the workplace – which are then repeated as compulsory modules at Level 3.
The study of these modules at Level 3 raises your overall knowledge and experience of installing first and second fixing components to the Level 3 standard.