City & Guilds: The Essential Guide

Industry News By Andy Taylor

City and Guilds were founded in 1878 to promote and protect technical education standards, by the Corporation of the City of London and 16 livery companies – or the Guilds. To this day, their main aim is to ensure that people have the skills and knowledge for a successful future as well as to help employers ensure that they can find employees with the attributes that they need to push their industries forward.

City and Guilds offer vocational qualifications which are recognised worldwide, across a wide range of subjects. Their most common qualification is the NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) which is a work-based qualification that is usually achieved through training and assessment.

Here at ACT Associates, we offer City and Guilds NVQs in Occupational Health and Safety – ideal for people who are looking to build a career in health and safety in the workplace.

What is a City and Guilds Qualification?

A City and Guilds qualification – usually an NVQ – will give you all the knowledge and skills that you need to start your career. They are a well-respected and internationally recognised educational organisation whose qualifications are trusted by employers the world over.

When you study for a City and Guilds qualification, the work that you are doing in your job counts towards your qualification and you spend much of your time ‘learning on the job’ – unlike many other qualifications which require teaching and exams – but give little or no practical experience.

There are a number of benefits to taking a City and Guilds course – both for you and your career and your current and potential employers. These include:

  • They are based on nationally agreed standards
  • They are nationally and internationally recognised
  • Employers know that you have the skills for the job
  • You can see your knowledge and skills progress and how they apply to your work
  • Courses can be taken in the workplace, in a training centre or a combination of the two
  • You can work at your own speed
  • No qualifications are necessary to start an NVQ
  • Higher-level awards, diplomas or certificates can be studied following on from the NVQ

Which Courses are Available at ACT Associates?

Here at ACT Associates we focus on the Occupational Health and Safety qualifications and can offer courses in NVQ Level 3 and NVQ Level 5. These courses are ideal for anybody who is either looking for a career in occupational health and safety or has health and safety aspects as part of their job.

City and Guilds NVQ Level 3

The NVQ level 3 is equivalent to the NEBOSH certificate and is ideal for anyone who’s job involves health and safety. If you use health and safety in your day-to-day job, your work involves devising and implementing health and safety procedures either in your own company or one that employs you. If you are thinking about starting a career in health and safety, then this is the course for you.

The Level 3 NVQ covers the carrying out of risk assessments, introducing health and safety procedure and promoting general health and safety in the workplace.

There are five units which must be completed:

  • To show an understanding of the actions which reduce health and safety risks
  • To be able to develop procedures which safely control operations in the workplace
  • To be able to monitor procedures which safely control operations in the workplace
  • To be able to promote a culture of workplace health and safety
  • To be able to successfully conduct a workplace health and safety risk assessment

At least two of the following units must also be completed:

  • To review workplace health and safety procedures
  • To investigate and evaluate workplace health and safety complaints and incidents
  • To supervise the welfare, health and safety of a learner in the workplace
  • To ensure that actions in the workplace are aimed at protecting the environment

City and Guilds NVQ Level 5

The NVQ Level 5 is a higher level qualification which, once you have completed it, will allow you to enter IOSH Graduate Membership, and work towards becoming a Chartered Member. The course is aimed at people who are looking to develop their health and safety knowledge in the workplace, who have autonomous responsibility for health and safety and are either part of the senior management team or report directly to them.

Once that you have completed the Level 5 NVQ you will have the qualification and knowledge to be able to carry out health and safety audits within your company, being able to make improvements and adding value to the company.

All of the following units must be completed:

  • The Development and implementation of effective systems of communication
  • The development and maintenance of both organisational and individual competence in health and safety
  • Helping to promote a positive safety culture in the workplace
  • Risk control
  • The development and implementation of proactive monitoring systems
  • The development and implementation of reactive monitoring systems
  • The development and implementation of emergency response procedures and systems
  • The development and implementation of safety review systems
  • The development and implementation of a safety audit
  • The development and implementation of the workplace health and safety policy
  • Ensuring behavioural safety in the workplace
  • The professional development and ethics in workplace health and safety management

From the City and Guilds NVQ Level 5 qualification, you will then be able to go on to study for a number of extra qualifications including:

Study Options with ACT Associates

Neither the Level 3 or the Level 5 NVQ has exams, and assessment is made by an assessor who will look at your work-based activities during assessment periods. You will need to produce a personal portfolio – either in paper or online – which shows evidence of your work that demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of each aspect of the course.

The Level 5 NVQ also requires workplace observation and evidence assessment.

Everybody takes different lengths of time to complete their NVQ and you can go at the right pace for you, Typically the Level 3 NVQ takes between 3 and 6 months and the Level 5 NVQ between 6 and 12 months.

Health and safety in the workplace is not only an essential consideration for every business but also an excellent career choice. With higher levels of learning, you can see your responsibilities and earning potential rise, and a City and Guilds qualification is the ideal way to launch your career in occupational health and safety.

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