Vocational Qualification

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Vocational qualifications offer practical learning programmes that are in direct relation to specific job roles or sectors. Taking a vocational qualification means that you study and gain skills in a particular job area. These qualifications follow a course structure and have an emphasis on developing practical skills and knowledge, but they tend to be classroom-based with assessment by written and practical examinations.

Here in Trinidad and Tobago, vocational qualification is divided into two categories;

  • CVQ – Caribbean Vocational Qualification
  • TTNVQ – Trinidad and Tobago National Vocational Qualification


The Ministry of Education (MOE) in collaboration with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and the National Training Agency (NTA) of the Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training (MTEST) will provide students with access to the Caribbean Vocational Qualification in Schools (CVQ in Schools) at the end of Form Five (5) and Form Six (6).

What is the CVQ?

The Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) is an award that represents the achievement of a set of competencies that define the core work practices of an occupational area, consistent with the levels articulated within the Regional Qualifications Framework.

To earn an award, students must demonstrate competence in reaching CARICOM-approved occupational standards developed by practitioners and employers (i.e. the industry experts). These standards are organized in units. Students may earn unit awards towards achieving a complete CVQ.

How is the CVQ in Schools obtained?

Students in schools equipped by the MOE are entered for assessments in specific skill areas. Their subject teachers are trained to instruct and perform continuous in-school assessment. When a student is ready, the assessor/teacher assesses his/her competence. Successful completion of a unit will be recorded and recognised on the official transcript.


The candidate will gain a full CVQ Award when all the units specified in the qualification structure have been accumulated. Based on evidence provided by both the school and the external verifier, the student will be awarded a CVQ certificate by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

Benefits of the CVQ to students:

  • Caters for multiple learning abilities in students
  • Real world of work experience
  • Broad-based preparation for employment
  • Parallel standing with academic qualification
  • Alternative route to further education
  • Recognized and portable qualification in CARICOM

How are persons assessed for CVQ Award?

A person pursuing a CVQ Award is required to demonstrate competence in work-based activities simulated in the school workshop/laboratory. At level 2, students may be assessed in the workplace. 

Who conducts the Assessment?

An individual working towards a CVQ will be assessed by a certified assessor/teacher, whose work is verified independently by an external verifier from industry. Assessments are conducted using the following methods:

  • Observation of performance
  • Examination of products
  • Oral questioning
  • Written testing
  • Appraisal of a portfolio

A person can be assessed as many times as it takes to prove competence in the occupational area. Where a candidate has a grievance arising from the assessment process he/she can make an appeal to the awarding body.

Who’s Who in the CVQ in Schools Programme


Assessors/teachers determine a candidate’s competence against Regional Occupational Standards using various methods of assessment.


Internal Verifiers (IVs)

Designated Heads of Department are trained by the NTA. They ensure that the assessor is performing assessments to established quality standards. IVs are required to sample assessment records and assess candidates to ensure that the assessment evidence is reliable.


External Verifiers (EVs)

EVs are appointed by the NTA from industry and are independent of the training institution or organisation. They will audit the assessment and internal verification processes to ensure that they meet NTA quality standards. EVs also witness assessments and internal verifications to ensure that evidence collected is reliable and that record keeping is acceptable.

Awarding Body

CXC conducts quality audits over the period of the programme and will award the CVQ in schools.

What are the benefits of TTNVQs?

To Trinidad and Tobago: TTNVQs will equip our workforce with the skills needed to meet the performance requirements of industry, in a competitive global market.


To Employers: Since TTNVQs are developed in close collaboration with experts from industry, they reflect industry’s performance standards and needs. TTNVQs represent evidence of a candidate’s job competence. 


To individuals: TTNVQs give candidates a standardised qualification which could be widely recognised by employers. It also allows them to have more access and flexibility to further training.

Are other countries using TTNVQs?

Yes, but they are called by different names. In Jamaica it is called NVQ-J and in the United Kingdom it is called N/SVQs.

Who is responsible for TTNVQs?

The National Training Agency is the government body responsible for developing and awarding TTNVQs. NTA works in collaboration with industry experts on Specific Occupational Advisory Committees to develop the TTNVQs. TTNVQs are part of the new thrust to upgrade the quality and standard of technical and vocational training in Trinidad and Tobago,  making it more responsive to the needs of industry and the global market.

How does it differ from CXC or GCE?

CXC and GCE are generally qualifications for academic courses, although CXC offers some technical education courses. The CXC is a Caribbean-based qualification while GCE is a British-based qualification. Examinations are written and projects are submitted as part of the assessment process in order to obtain CXC and GCE qualifications.


The TTNVQ is a national qualification which is based on one’s competence for the world of work. Candidates are assessed under actual workplace conditions and there is more emphasis on competency-based assessment. The TTNVQ prepares the candidate with the required skills to competently perform the job, according to the standards required by industry.


There is a clear need for standardisation, as there presently exist several qualifications and certificates for technical and vocational education and training, which are of doubtful value to employers.

TTNVQ Framework

How does the TTNVQ work?

TTNVQs are based on national occupational standards. Industry experts come together to define the standards for top performance in their industries. These standards are then translated to the curriculum and assessment procedures developed to encompass the standards identified. All TTNVQs fit into a TTNVQ framework. There are five levels, of which Level 1 is the introductory level called Semi-Skilled and Level 5 the highest level, which is equivalent to the Chartered and Advanced Professional Level.

TTNVQ Framework

  • Level 5 – Chartered & Advanced Professional
  • Level 4 – Professional
  • Level 3 – Technician
  • Level 2 – Craft
  • Level 1 – Pre-Craft


Benefits of the TTNVQ framework

The NVQ framework allows all candidates the opportunity to progressively attain higher and/or further qualifications in their selected occupation or career. Candidates are allowed to transfer credits between programmes from one level to another.


How do I qualify to do a TTNVQ?

Entry into Level 1 does not require stringent pre-qualifications. Entry to Level 2 and higher are based on previous knowledge and experience in the occupational area. A candidate can be assessed through Prior Learning Assessment to ascertain the level at which the candidate can be placed. This is particularly important for those persons who have years of experience but no formal qualifications. Prior Learning Assessment allows candidates more access to training and further qualifications.


Do I have to be a certain age to qualify?

There are no age barriers for candidates wanting to attain a TTNVQ. Anyone can do a TTNVQ regardless of their age or stage in life. The TTNVQ framework is meant to produce lifelong learning for all.


Where can I obtain a TTNVQ?

You can obtain TTNVQs – Level 1, at institutes and industrial centres approved by the NTA to provide technical and vocational education and training. TTNVQs for higher levels will be acquired at institutes and industrial centres where modern apprenticeships and traineeships are facilitated. TTNVQs will eventually be available at approved workplaces offering in-house training to employees.


What documents would you need?

If you are interested in your centre being approved to offer the TTNVQ please contact us. For your centre to be approved to offer the TTNVQ you would need the following documents QSD004_CentreApprovalCriteria and QSD005_CentreApprovalSampleSubmission

For More Information about CVQ/TTNVQ, click here

What does NTA do? 
A. The NTA is the central coordinating agency for technical and vocational education and training in Trinidad & Tobago.


What training does NTA do? 
A. The NTA conducts training for Assessors and Internal Verifiers for Training Providers offering programmes leading to the award of the TTNVQ/CVQ. Training Providers conduct training in specific occupational skill areas.


What is the TTNVQ/CVQ? 
A. The TTNVQ is the Trinidad & Tobago National Vocational Qualification. It is a competency based qualification which is developed from the National Occupational Standard. The CVQ is the Caribbean Vocational Qualification. It is a competency based qualification based which is developed from the Regional Occupational Standard


Where is the TTNVQ recognized? 
A. The TTNVQ is recognised in Trinidad & Tobago.


Where is the CVQ recognized? 
A. The CVQ is recognised within CARICOM.


Does industry recognise the TTNVQ/CVQ?
A. Yes.


Is the TTNVQ/CVQ equivalent to other qualifications such as NEC and City & Guilds? 
A. The TTNVQ and CVQ are competency based qualifications in which the candidate performance is assessed against the NOS/ROS. The NOS/ROS are not used in the assessment of candidates for the NEC and City & Guilds qualifications.


Where & how can one achieve a TTNVQ/CVQ? 
A. TTNVQs/CVQs are awarded to candidates who demonstrate competence in accordance with the applicable NOS/ROS. They can be awarded to competent candidates on completion of a course of study at a secondary school. A TTNVQ can also be obtained from a training institution, a social/community programme (HYPE, OJT, MuST, etc.) or the work place. Yet another route for the award of a TTNVQ is Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR). The award of CVQs through training institutions, social/community programmes, industry and PLAR will soon be introduced.


How does a Centre become approved? 
A. Centre Approval is a process in which the NTA ensures that a Training Provider (training institution, enterprise/industry, social/community programme) has implemented a Quality Management System (QMS) to support and deliver training leading to the award of the TTNVQ or the CVQ.


Where can I go to be trained in a specific skill area? 
A. This information can be obtained by contacting the NTA.


What is TVET? 
A. TVET is Technical and Vocational Education and Training.


What is the difference between Technical and Vocational?
A. Vocational education and training prepares learners for careers that are based in manual or practical activities that are totally related to a specific trade, occupation or vocation. Technical education and training involves the use of applied science and scientific principles and techniques. The learner directly develops expertise in a particular group of techniques or technology.


If my Centre is registered by the ACTT, do I still need to obtain Centre Approval? 
A. Yes. Centre Approval is required to facilitate the award of TTNVQs/CVQs.


How can I determine whether a Training Provider is approved by the NTA?
A.This information can be obtained by contacting the NTA.