What is the difference in Awarding Organisations?
When it comes to qualifications there are myths around the Awarding Organisations and if one is deemed a higher level than another, so let’s break this down and bust some misconceptions.
OFQUAL - The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation is a non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests in England and who regulate qualifications on the national register. This register is of all Awarding Organisations that meet the standard required to offer regulated qualifications.
An Awarding Organisation writes a qualification that demonstrates a learner’s ability in the subject matter. They set a criteria for the qualification that must be achieved in order for a person to gain it. In the grooming industry, City & Guilds, OCNWM and now iPET Network are Awarding Organisations with grooming qualifications.
Qualification is a very generic term used by many training providers. However, to be a recognised qualification of a certain level in the UK, the Awarding Organisation must be OFQUAL regulated. In short, if there isn’t an Awarding Organisation, the qualification is not of a regulated standard. That doesn’t mean the training course is no good, but it does mean the writers have not faced scrutiny to ensure it is fair for all to achieve and meets quality assurance standards.
Each qualification on the national register is given a level depending on the difficulty of the subject and the criteria of how the qualification is assessed e.g. Level 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. You may also have heard of the terms Award, Certificate and Diploma, these words relate to the number of credits the qualification is worth and indicates the amount of learning hours a person has studied.
Award = 1-12 Credits
Certificate = 13-26 Credits
Diploma = 37 or more Credits
If 2 different Awarding Organisations offer a regulated Level 3 Diploma, they are recognised as the same level of learning even if the content differs as long as the credit value meets the above. Credits are based on a suggested 10 hours of study, as such, to obtain a certificate worth 13 credits, you would be expected to undertake training with a time duration of around 130 hours.
A learner has to be assessed to prove they have met the qualification criteria. Assessment can take many different forms but can include formal exams, online tests, oral questioning, practical demonstration, coursework or portfolio building. Awarding Organisations choose the best assessment methods for their qualifications, ensuring the process is fair to everyone doing their qualification.
Each qualification will have a different set of criteria which must be achieved in order to obtain the qualification. Each Awarding Organisation writes their qualification with the needs of their learners in mind. iPET Network has consulted with a panel of industry experts to write a criteria that we feel best prepares learners for a career as a commercial dog groomer.
Although two training providers maybe offering the same qualification from the same Awarding Organisation, their qualification may differ considerably. As long as the training providers are meeting the Qualification Criteria, they can deliver the training how they find best. So one learner may start on a Spaniel and another on a Westie, another may train full time for 5 weeks and another may do 1 day a week over a year etc. Costs can also differ depending on how many students are in the class and the tutors profile or business model.
We hope that this helps you understand the range of courses, training providers and qualifications out there, giving you clarity on how to compare them effectively.