NCFE recognised?

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Hello Michelle,

I don't think any of these online courses are appreciated in the practical world and do not provide any creditability when applying for a job!! NCFE and OLQA are both unrecognised.

Note: This topic was created from a reply on the How are you finding your course? topic.
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hannah wells

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Posted 6 years ago

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Vicky Findlay

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i was told NCFE was a recognised qualification? i am worried now what are we paying for if isnt going to help people progress or in jobs etc? not everyone does them for fun! worrying!!

Note: This topic was created from a reply on the How are you finding your course? topic.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
NCFE recognised?.
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Daniela I. Walters

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Wow alot of people are saying that the diplomas are not qualifing you for a job... can Stonebridge let us know is that is true?

Note: This topic was created from a reply on the How are you finding your course? topic.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
NCFE recognised?.
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Stonebridge Student Support Team, Official Rep

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Hi Hannah, Vicky and Daniela. There seems to be some uncertainty and confusion over NCFE. NCFE is absolutely a recognised awarding body. It is recognised as an awarding organisation by the qualification regulators for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including Ofqual, the Welsh government, and the CCEA in Northern Ireland.

Stonebridge Associated Colleges is an NCFE registered learning centre. Many of our students have found career success through their courses with us. In some cases, an NCFE award is more than enough to qualify you for a job, and in others, you may need additional qualifications or education. For example, you couldn't qualify to be a doctor with an NCFE award, but you could qualify to be a teaching assistant. It all depends on the job and each individual employer's requirements, of course.

You can find out more about our association with NCFE by reading our blog about it: https://www.stonebridge.uk.com/blog/l....

Hope this helps clear things up!
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Renzo Savage

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Just to add a bit more information for the OP, you mention both NCFE and OLQA.

NCFE are the oldest registered awarding body in the UK and they provide OFQUAL registered QCF qualifications and they also provide recognised accreditation for centres and issue accredited awards.

OLQA are a rented mailbox in central Oxford and as far as I can tell are an accreditation mill but Stonebridge do not offer courses accredited by this provider.

Like Stonebridge said if you want to take your distance learning award and go straight into practice as a medical professional you might be out of luck but the NCFE awards are recognised by employers as both a sign that you have taken a good course with a good learning provider and of course a sign that you are keen to develop yourself professionally.

A lot of people seem to get the idea that "if I do X course I will then get Y job" but it doesn't work like that. Your CV is a portfolio of all your learning and experiences and the more relevant learning and experience you can demonstrate the more attractive you will be to employers. DL courses should be a part of a broad set of things you use to sell yourself. You can use them to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to learning, self motivation & discipline and of course an interest and knowledge base or skill set in the subject you've studied. Sadly there is nothing that acts as a passport to an instant job, not a University Degree which can cost about 150x as much as an NCFE award and require years of full time study.
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Michelle Heasman

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Ok, so I follow the point that you have to be sensible about the job your going to get with the qualification that youve got. For example the medical one and you cant just expect that as you have one qualification your going to get a job.

Im still abit confused about the recogniesd bit, do you mean on the same level as AQA and OCR?

Thanks for your help :)
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Renzo Savage

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The recognition of courses is a bit of a minefield unfortunately. The trouble is it's all very well giving out a certificate as a 'stamp of approval' but is it worth anything?

Well it mostly depends on who is giving the stamp. Stonebridge offer their own certificate, this means that Stonebridge are happy that the person who it was awarded to attended and passed the course named on the certificate. Many people might not care what Stonebridge think so they have also gained accreditation from an organisation called NCFE. The courses also come with the NCFE certificate and this means that NCFE, as well as Stonebridge, are happy that the individual has taken and passed the course. This adds credibility and weight to the courses offered because it means that Stonebridge are offering courses and services to a standard that NCFE are happy with.

The next question of course is 'who the hell are NCFE and why should I care what they think?' Well NCFE are actually the oldest recognised accrediting body in the UK. An accrediting body is usually described as 'recognised' if it is authorised and regulated by OFQUAL which is the government body which regulates qualifications and exams.

Organisations like NCFE (and AQA and OCR which you mentioned) who accredit courses and certificates offered by other providers are, in effect, lending their reputation out to these learning providers. In return the learning provider will agree to be audited and inspected regularly to ensure that the reputation is being properly upheld and they may also have other conditions to meet.

So far hopefully that's nice and clear. OFQUAL are the top dog, they regulate accreditation bodies who in turn lend their reputations out to schools, colleges and learning providers to distinguish ones which hold decent standards from those who are printing certificates in their garage.

OLQA who was mentioned above by the OP are not regulated by OFQUAL and as such can be said to not be a 'real' body in the same way as Edexcel or NCFE are. This does not mean that they are necessarily bad it just means that nobody seems to be prepared to vouch for them, in many people's eyes this would mean that they do not have the reputation necessary to be accrediting other providers' courses. I personally would not be surprised if it turned out that the reason they are not OFQUAL regulated is because they do not meet the required standards.

Back to the point... I have noticed a few people questioning the validity of Stonebridge's courses recently, I think a lot of the confusion arises because most people are used to more mainstream qualifications. A lot of these 'normal' qualifications have been mapped onto a grid so that there is an accepted comparative value; a BTEC National Diploma can be said to be the equivalent of three A Levels for example. The type of NCFE award offered by Stonebridge is not on this grid so although they are given a QCF equivalent level which helps us to compare their difficulty and they come with a transcript saying how many learning hours were put into the course this only gives us an estimate of their worth and they are not as well established or understood as qualifications like GCSEs or BTEC Diplomas.

All things considered the only real downside of taking a course which leads to this type of NCFE award is that they don't carry UCAS points because they are not on the grid that I mentioned above. Aside from this they should be recognised by both employers and other learning institutions as a 'real' course in the subject that you've studied. As always though if you want to use the course for a very specific purpose such as an entry to another course, professional body or career path it is worth checking that it meets the required standards before you start the course. The best way is to call up the guys you will be applying to and asking them what they will accept.

I hope that cleared a few things up for you and if I can help any further please let me know.
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Louise Mullins, Champion

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NCFE certificates are the equivilant to an NVQ (QCF) or AQA certificate (BTEC/EDEXEL). I qualified to distribute and handle medicines as a mental health support worker by gaining an NCFE level 2 certificate through my local college paid for by my employer in 2007.

I have now qualified as a counsellor, gaining full membership to practice privately by gaining the following from Stonebridge:
Dip. Basic counselling + (Cert. NCFE Level 2)- Equivilant to NVQ2
Dip. Advanced counselling + (Cert. NCFE Level 3)- Equivilant to NVQ3
Dip. Professional therapeutic counselling + (Cert. NCFE Level 4)- Equivilant to NVQ4 or HND.
Dip. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) + (Cert. NCFE Level 5)- Equivilant to NVQ5, PGD or Foundation Degree (Year 1)

So I would say that an NCFE certificate which is used widely throughout colleges in Britain are more than useful, and in some cases mandatory. It is the equivilant to many valued qualifications and is recognised by many employers, colleges and universities.
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Louise Mullins, Champion

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If you take a look on the following college website, under qualifications (my local college) you will see them listed: www.cityofbristolcollege.ac.uk or the NCFE website: www.ncfe.org.uk
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Renzo Savage

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Hi Louise,

You seem to have mixed your levels up slightly. A HND is a L5 qualification (it's HNC that's L4), year 1 of a foundation degree is L4 and a PGD (I assume you mean Post-Graduate Diploma) is L7 at a minimum and would normally require a good undergraduate degree as a prerequisite.

Anyway, the main point I wanted to make is the difference between certificates which are the same level and certificates which are equivalent qualifications. Although many qualifications have now been mapped onto an eye wateringly complex table called the Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF) the Stonebridge NCFE awards haven't. The QCF is the table which tells us useful factoids like a GCSE B grade being equal to 1/4 of a L2 BTEC First Diploma and has given rise to the idea that one qualification can 'equal' another or part of another.

The NQF is a parallel framework which is used by courses which do not meet the requirements of the QCF (although this doesn't mean they're worse - just different). As with the QCF it divides courses and qualifications into levels but cannot provide direct comparisons with QCF qualifications, instead it provides both the length and level of the course. The NCFE awards offered by Stonebridge are given NQF levels and therefore cannot be said to be equal to or the equivalent of QCF courses only that they are at the X level and ran for Y number of hours. This should be enough to demonstrate roughly what the qualification is similar to but it is not the same as saying they 'equal' other qualifications.

To illustrate this I could run a class teaching one day's worth of A Level standard (L3) history, let's say I gave an accredited certificate out at the end. The certificate shows that the holder has passed a 1 day course accredited at L3, even though it's the same level as an A level it wouldn't be accurate to say it's the equivalent because an A Level takes a couple of years. Neither is the certificate any fraction (like '1/365th') of an A Level - it just can't be compared any further than saying it is 'one day at L3'.

Since the only points we have to compare our Stonebridge NCFE awards are the level and the learning hours this is really all we can use. It might sound like I'm being exceptionally picky but if you line some of the different qualifications up next to each other using these two points there can be big differences with the QCF qualifications you mention having many times the learning hours of the NCFE awards which you have said are equivalent.

For example the L5 Diploma which you mention is approximately 360 learning hours, a foundation degree is also a L5 qualification but is somewhere in the region of 2500 learning hours (depending on where you take it.) A PGDip & prerequisites would be about 5000 learning hours across levels 4,5,6 & 7. Based on these descriptors of level and hours studied they cannot be said to be the same as each other or equivalent. The closest we can come is to say that they are the same level and lasted for an Xth of the time.

As you say the NCFE awards are very well regarded and I'm not saying they are worthless or even inferior to other more recognised qualifications; only that they are different and it is not accurate to say they are the same. There are a number of things that you can expect to do practically as a matter of course with certain QCF qualifications (like gain entry to other institutions, industries, professional bodies or be accepted onto other courses) that you cannot or may not be able to do with an NCFE award even if it appears to be very similar.
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Louise Mullins, Champion

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I am also a student of The Open University and an OU qualification, like the one I am studying (a BSc (hons) Psychology degree) goes from a level 5,6,7 over the three year course. For instance year one is level 5, year two level 6 and year three level 7. A diploma goes from level 3, 4, 5. However each module of a degree is counted as a separate level course, for instance in year one I studied three level 5 modules, the first one was 60 hours, the second 60 hours and the third 60 hours. Year two modules are 120 hours each x2, and year three (my current year) 240 hours each x2. This is nothing to do with a Diploma which is a level 3, 4 or 5 qualification and the hours range from 60-120 hours for the entire diploma 3 months to 12 months long. The QCF is no longer being used as a graded level of qualifications, instead the NQF and CQF have now come together (see recent articles on college websites/online ect) to become the NQCF. This is the equivilant to an NVQ level framework and as such is now being used for all entry level certificates, diplomas and degree's. However Stonebridge have not yet updated their website to show this, which makes no difference to the course structure or qualification criteria by employers ect. If you want to gain access to further degree level training, diplomas in a local college of a professional training or wish to change career or be eligable for promotion a Stonebridge course will and can assist you to do that. I've done it, many others have. An NCFE certificate or diploma would mean nothing if it weren't recognised by any college, but it is and is used in many colleges for employability (in London, Bristol. Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham) in your case I would suggest speaking to a local college and asking them if they would accept your certificate as direct entery to a course, which of course they will because most courses offer these certificates for their own courses.

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