Training qualifications

This section is a guide to what qualifications you could deliver. The information on this page is for England – see equivalent info for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. A section with a glossary and background info follows the list of qualifications.

To give a quick example, see this video of Shane Carey of Reprezent, talking about what qualifications they offer.


Courses and qualifications

There are many courses which community radio stations can, and do, effectively deliver, using radio to develop a range of skills – not only media and broadcasting skills but others such as employability. Here in this toolkit we have identified a range of courses – some radio specific and others which can use radio to meet other outcomes. We have looked at courses which can be delivered within a range of budgets, and which have different requirements for delivery.

The full database of qualifications recognised by Ofqual can be found, and searched, at ‘The Register’:

An extended list of qualifications that could be considered by community radio stations can be found on the linked spreadsheet (Excel), showing courses in:

  • Radio
  • Creative & Media
  • Employability
  • Community work

You could also search the Register for other subjects, like:

  • IT (or ICT) Skills
  • ESOL (or ESOL Skills for Life)


When choosing a qualification suitable to deliver you will need to consider these things – from yours and your learners’ perspective:

  • Who are the learners, and what do they need?
  • Is the qualification suitable for the learner’s age, and level?
  • Are there any entry requirements for this course?
  • What is the duration of the course?
  • What method of assessment will need to be used?
  • Do I have the resources, space, trainers, etc I need to deliver the course?


Radio specific Courses

These courses are designed to help develop a career in the radio industry. There may be specific entry requirements for some of the higher level courses.  There are different qualifications available to suit the needs of you and your learners.


Name of course Guided Learning Hours Credits Level Course brief
NCFE Level 1 Award in Radio Production 50 5 1 Make an audio recording for a radio production
ABC Level 2 Certificate  Preparing to work  in Creative Media 180-195 24 2 Awareness of Employment, health and safety, and working in creative industries
NCFE Level 2Certificate in Radio Production 90 13 2 Make an audio recording for a radio production.Plus additional optional units
NOCN Level 3 Certificate in Progression 210 30 3 Selection of units which cover key skills and can include communication and radio
Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Creative Media Production (Radio) 180 30 3 Broadly equivalent to one GCE AS Level.The course has 3 mandatory units:

  1. Pre-Production Techniques for the Creative Media Industries
  2. Communication Skills for Creative Media Production
  3. Research Techniques for the Creative Media Industries

Plus optional units to the value of 19 credits


City & Guilds Level 1 Award in ‘Employability and Personal Development’ 57-72 9 1
City & Guilds Level 1 Award in ‘Personal Development and Contributing to the Community’ 56-71 9 1
City & Guilds Level 1 Certificate in ‘Personal Development and Contributing to the Community’ 91-119 15 1
NCFE Level 1 Award in Personal Achievement 1
Arts Award (Bronze) 40 (approx.) 1
Arts Award (Silver) 60 (approx.) 2 2 Units: 1) arts practice and 2) arts leadership


Life skills courses

Life Skills and employability qualifications support the development of personal skills for working, learning and living, and provide a useful base for further learning. Life Skills courses help with everyday activities, such as communicating, parenting, or healthy eating, while other courses cover work and employability skills, and can support with seeking employment and building a CV. The content of these courses allow for radio to be used as a medium through which learning outcomes can be achieved, and provide an innovative approach which other training providers may not offer. See also ‘training for employability‘.


City & Guilds Award/Certificate/Diploma in ‘Employability and Personal Development’

There are a variety of City & Guilds ‘employability and personal development’ qualifications at different levels.

Eg. Level 1 Award

Credits: 9

Guided Learning Hours: 57 – 72 (dependent upon units chosen)

The level 1 award in Employability and personal development is suitable for learners aged 14+. It is put together by choosing from a list of units covering a range of subjects, finding the right units suitable for your group and combining these to give the right credit value for an award. These courses are great to use with communities and hard to reach groups.



City & Guilds Award/Certificate in ‘Personal Development and Contributing to the Community’

Both Award and Certificate are available at either of two levels: Entry level 3 or Level 1

All are on the QCF (thus funded through QCF funding structures)


Qualification type/level Credits Guided Learning Hours
Award (either Entry 3 or Level 1) 9 56 – 71
Certificate (either Entry 3 or Level 1) 15 91 – 119



Courses specifically for young people and links to national curriculum

Radio projects and courses can be planned to meet key learning outcomes which are mentioned within the national curriculum across a variety of subjects. Planning lessons which clearly show how the student’s participation meets these learning outcomes can support and strengthen the offer of working in partnership within schools. Offering courses designed to support with the development of skills in English or Media Studies is a good place to start – but your potential offer need not be limited to these. There are also awards designed specifically for young people which can be used in community radio.


Arts Award

Arts Award can be based around any arts or media activity, and can be completed in a wide variety of settings – like youth clubs, arts centres, schools, colleges, theatres or community groups. There are no entry requirements, or time limit for completing the award, Arts Award can be suitable for young people aged 5 – 25 years.  In order to deliver arts award you will need to attend the training days linked to the qualification you would like to deliver.

Arts Award Levels:

Arts Award Levels: Explore is at pre GCSE level, Bronze and Silver Arts Awards are at the same standard and therefore have the same level of difficulty as GCSE’s but are smaller in size.  The Gold Award is at the same standard as A-levels but is the size of half an AS level. See level comparison chart at:


Bronze is available to young people aged 11 to 25

Young people plan their work with an adviser, and keep a record by creating their own Arts Award portfolio. This portfolio might be, for example, a folder, sketchbook, video diary or a website.


Silver Arts Award has been designed for young people aged 14 to 25.

Silver Arts Award, a Level 2 qualification, has two units – Unit 1: arts practice and Unit 2: arts leadership. Doing Silver involves achieving an arts challenge, reviewing arts events, researching artists and arts organisations, and delivering an arts leadership project with other people. Young people plan their work with an adviser and keep a record by creating their own Arts Award portfolio. Young people can pick their own style of portfolio – e.g. a diary, video, website blog, etc.



National Curriculum

Radio courses can be designed and offered to schools to meet the needs of key curriculum areas. A community radio station is a wealth of resources, potentially offering programmes to schools which support curriculum areas or offer enrichment activities to the pupils, and which can reciprocally generate income for the station. Radio-based work can be used to promote and develop key areas such as English Speaking and listening, Media Studies, Citizenship, etc.

Example: As part of the Connect:Transmit project, Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB) worked with a local secondary school to fulfil the aims outlined in the Year 10 GCSE Media Studies syllabus. BCB worked with two cohorts of pupils to each produce a radio package and create a production portfolio that evidenced their learning process. The assessment of this work counted for thirty percent of the pupils’ GCSE Media Studies grade.


Individual units

A (partial) list of radio-specific units can be found in the table below.

Unit Level Credit Weighted funding rate
Understanding how to Make a Radio Documentary Programme Level 3 2 £112
Research audiences for radio Level 3 4 £168
Write for radio Level 3 6 £336
Developing Radio Interview Techniques Level 3 3 £168
Developing Radio Production Skills Level 3 3 £168
Talk and music radio production Level 2 10 £504
Understanding the Radio Industry Level 3 10 £504
Work effectively in radio Level 3 6 £336
Know how to produce speech content for radio Level 3 3 £168
Make an audio recording for a radio production Level 1 2 £112
Explore employment opportunities in the radio industry Level 1 1 £56
Understanding how to Make a Radio Magazine Programme Level 3 2 £112
Radio Studies Level 3 10 £504
Scriptwriting for Radio Level 3 10 £504
Contribute to the creative process in radio Level 3 4 £168
Write for multi-platform use in radio Level 3 6 £336
Operate a radio studio Level 3 6 £336
Use and develop the voice for radio Level 3 3 £168
Edit digital audio for radio production Level 2 3 £168
Prepare for employment in the radio industry Level 2 2 £112
Factual Programme Production techniques for Radio Level 3 10 £504
Pitch ideas for radio content Level 3 3 £168
Develop and use radio journalism skills Level 2 3 £168
Radio production technology Level 2 3 £168

There are a host of other units – more than we could possibly list here – but you could search the Ofqual register by keyword/level for specific units, which gives the unit details, as well as listing the qualifications which use this unit. Obvious keywords to try include ‘communication’, ‘media’, ‘IT’, ‘teamwork’, ‘employability’, ‘ESOL’ – and you will no doubt think of others more specific to your context.


Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes. The apprentice is an employee of the employer, and the training is usually provided by a training organisation. Training providers are inspected by Ofsted, and some training providers will subcontract some or all of their training to another organisation. Currently, training providers receive funding for apprenticeships from the SFA, though this is in the process of being restructured.

Apprenticeships are currently (at the time of putting this toolkit together) undergoing reform. They are being regarded by the current government as a key component of the skills sector, and funding for apprenticeships is being increased. The main changes underway are:

  • Employers are being placed in a more central position with regards setting standards, and specifying (and possibly creating new) qualifications for apprenticeships;
  • Funding is to be directed towards employers (not training providers);
  • Apprentices are to be supported to achieve Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths (as opposed to the current requirement of Level 1 qualifications);
  • Apprenticeships are proposed to be graded: as pass, merit, or distinction

Full details are still emerging, and it remains to be seen what offering apprenticeships will entail, in practice, for employers and training organisations.


Traineeships are a relatively new initiative, targeted at people without the entry requirements for apprenticeships, to gain skills to enable them to enter an apprenticeship or job. Traineeships:

  • last anything from six weeks to a maximum of six months
  • consist of a programme, set by the training provider and tailored to the trainee’s needs, including: work preparation training, English and maths support; and a work experience placement
  • are open to young people aged 16 – 18 and qualified below Level 3, OR are aged 19 – 23 and qualified below full Level 2.


National Apprenticeship Service has lots of information, including:

Apprenticeship toolkit by Creative Skillset:

Creative Skillset video on apprenticeships:

Government paper on the future of apprenticeships, March 2013



Background info on qualifications

What is a qualification? A glossary of terms

A qualification is a recognition of a body of work completed by a learner, and accredited by an awarding body. A qualification is usually made up of discrete units, and every qualification will be of a particular type and at a particular educational level.

Units: Qualifications are made up of units of credit, which are designed to be flexible and transferable, and allow attainment in small ‘chunks’, or ‘bit by bit’, within and across awarding organisations. Some individual units of credit may be linked to more than one qualification.

Level: A qualification’s (or unit’s) level denotes the level of difficulty (as opposed to amount of work involved, or length of course).  Levels are from Entry Level to Level 8.  By way of example – Level 2 equates to GCSE and Level 3 to A- Level. (see table below)  There are also Foundation Levels pre Level 1.

Figure: QCF levels and some qualification types

Type: There are three types of qualification on the QCF framework (see ‘who’s who’ below): Award, Certificate, and Diploma. Qualifications carry a particular credit value. Thus, you can have a Level 1 Award, a Level 1 Certificate, a Level 2 Award, a Level 2 Certificate, etc.

Credit, or credit value: Every unit (and qualification) has a credit value – and different qualification levels require the learner to have earned a particular number of credits. An Award will require between 1 to 12 credits; a Certificate 13 – 36 credits; and a Diploma at least 37 credits. Credit value also gives an indication of how long it takes to complete a course – for QCF qualifications, one credit usually takes 10 hours of learning – though the exact duration will be indicated by the course’s guided learner hours.

Guided Learner Hours (or GLH): The number of hours of direct contact time between the learner and the learning provider, as part of an accredited course. However, it may take the learner more time to prepare, study and complete the work involved in the course. GLH will usually be indicated on the course’s information page on Ofqual (see ‘who’s who’ below), and will usually be included by the provider in their information for learners.

Awarding body: The organisation that accredits the qualification – e.g. NCFE, OCR, AQA, NOCN, Pearson Edexcel, etc. The awarding body oversees the qualification, sets learning outcomes, etc. Some QCF qualifications are offered by more than one awarding body.

Learning centre/provider: This is the organisation that delivers the course – e.g., a college, a community radio station, etc. Training delivery organisations may need to become registered providers in order to deliver the course, or they can deliver a course in partnership with a separate accredited organisation which takes care of course administration.

Funding is sometimes attached to qualifications – see the section on funding.


Who’s who & what’s what: qualification frameworks and regulation:

QCF, or the Qualifications and Credit Framework, is a set of rules about qualification standards, which is in place in England, and Northern Ireland.

Ofqual is an organisation that regulates qualifications that use QCF rules in England. It also regulates vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. Ofqual monitor awarding organisations and qualifications to make sure that standards are maintained.

BIS, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, is the UK government department for economic growth. The department invests in skills and education to promote trade, boost innovation and help people to start and grow a business.

SFA (Skills Funding Agency): a partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). They fund and promote adult further education (FE) and skills training in England.

More information on funding frameworks by country and age range are in the funding section.

Ofqual on QCF:

Further information about qualification frameworks in UK can be found at

A useful guide and chart, comparing qualifications across the different frameworks in the UK and Ireland is at:

A chart from Ofqual with some more examples of qualifications at different levels of the QCF, compared with the older framework (NQF), which included NVQs: