NEBOSH Diploma VS NVQ Level 6

Careers By Matthew Coombes

Two-degree level health and safety qualifications, two vastly different ways to learn, but what is the difference between an NVQ and a NEBOSH Diploma? Which qualification is best?

Getting a degree level qualification in health and safety doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go to university. There are some fantastic degree level qualifications, which are highly regarded in the industry and are undertaken in a very different way to a traditional degree.

Namely, the NEBOSH National Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals and the City & Guilds Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Practice.

So, let’s compare the two!

How much does each course cost?

We know it’s probably the first thing on your mind, how much is this course going to cost?
At the time of writing this article, the NEBOSH National Diploma taught via live video conferencing is £5,385.00 + VAT plus the fees paid to NEBOSH for your enrolment, examinations/marking and certification.

This includes everything that you will need to pass your course, 24 full days of tutor led training, support and resources between teaching, and a high-quality RMS Publishing study book for each unit of the course.

Compared to spending three years of your life full time at university, £9,000+ per year and £80 for each book for each unit of a degree, this is an absolute steal!

The City & Guilds NVQ Level 6 is £2,350.00 + VAT + your C&G enrolment and assessment fee. The reason that the NVQ Level 6 is so much cheaper than a diploma, (…and a degree!) is because the majority of the course is completed by you, at your workplace, or based on your work.

Don’t get me wrong, the course includes a 1-to-1 video support session for each of the 7 units with our expert NVQ tutor, to keep you on the right path. However, it’s up to you to produce and evidence anything that you need to pass your course.

Course duration

NEBOSH Diploma Duration – The NEBOSH Diploma is completed over a period of 24 days of taught course, plus self-study and assessment. Typically, the course is completed over a period of 18 months, 3 years (with 1 unit a year), or within the 5 years you have to complete the course and gain your certification.

NVQ Level 6 – The duration of an NVQ depends a lot on:

  • The work that you have already done
  • The work that you can do after starting your course
  • The time you can attribute to completing your course

We provide our NVQ support over a 14-month period, but it typically takes between 8 and 12 months to complete a level 6 NVQ. We just give extra time, because we know that with a workplace-based qualification, life and unexpected events can get in the way.

Course Content

The NEBOSH National Diploma is split into 3 units. Each unit takes an in-depth look at the various aspects of health and safety that are important for management professionals to understand, including: legislation and the UK legal system, the principles of health and safety, common health hazards, monitoring and managing health, and workplace safety issues, such as identifying and controlling significant and common risks.

This makes it one of the most robust health and safety qualifications at degree level, and the breadth of information covered and provided to you by our expert tutor means that by the end of your course you should be able to manage health and safety in any organisation, in any sector in the UK.

The NVQ Level 6 Diploma, contains 7 units, each designed to cover an essential part of health and safety management within the workplace. These units include things that a health and safety manager will have to deal with on a regular basis including:

  • Health and safety emergency procedures
  • Health and safety audits
  • A positive health and safety culture in an organisation
  • Organisational health and safety policy
  • Professional development and ethics in health and safety practice
  • Systems monitoring and risk control
  • Organisational health and safety strategy

Qualification level

The NEBOSH Diploma is a SCQF Level 10 which is equivalent to a UK RQF Level 6 in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.

The City & Guilds Diploma is a Level 6 National Vocational Qualification.

Both of these qualifications are Level 6, making them equivalent to a Graduate qualification, such as a BSc in Occupational Health and Safety.

How are they assessed?

The NEBOSH National Diploma has always been renowned in the industry for being one of the toughest qualifications on the market. This was because the course hinged on your successful completion of multiple three-hour long exams, each covering a massive amount of information. However, more recently the industry has realised that it’s not your ability to pass a difficult exam that matters, but your competency as a professional and how you apply yourself. As such, the NEBOSH Diploma moved to an assignment-based approach, whereby you have to complete multiple papers but each with a specific timeframe of 20-30 days, as well as a practical assessment.

This is very similar to how some universities may provide their assessments, and the new format is still very challenging, but provides a more realistic and competency-based approach to measuring performance and achieving the qualification. These new assessments are also now completed online, so there’s no need to travel to an examination venue.

The City & Guilds Level 6 is a National Vocational Qualification. This type of qualification has been specifically invented to allow those who are currently employed in a position to gain knowledge and skills applicable to their role, and get credit for the work that they do every day. An NVQ is a portfolio of information and evidence that you gradually build up from activities in your workplace.

You create or source evidence against the assessment criteria to show your competence in the areas covered by the course, this means that you can get credit for work you have already completed, or get credit from work that you can undertake. Importantly, there’s no way to fail an NVQ, you can keep resubmitting work against the criteria after making alterations.

If you would like any more information on either of the qualifications mentioned in this article, just drop us an email and our course advisors will get back to you with the answers to any questions.

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