National Occupational Standards

What are National Occupational Standards?

National occupational standards are statements of the skills, knowledge and understanding needed in employment and clearly define the outcomes of competent performance.

National occupational standards are not training courses or programmes of study, but state what are considered to be critical aspects of competence at work, and balance innovation and established best practice. Competence includes both skills and knowledge and understanding. Standards must be flexible enough to accommodate changes in future skills needs.

National Occupational Standards are organised into units of competence. Each ‘unit’ describes an area of work, with the activities separated out into ‘elements’ with associated performance criteria’ and ‘knowledge’ listed.

The childcare or playwork standards can be separated into different levels of competence and can be used to benchmark the skills, knowledge and responsibilities associated with more complex roles within organisations. They also include units that highlight the ‘values’ required to work in childcare or playwork.