QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework) formally NVQs accredit individuals in the skills of base construction, kerb laying, concrete work and laying artificial turf. In a partnership which was initiated by SAPCA with SkillsActive, EdExcel and South Birmingham College the aim was to develop a National Occupational Standard for the installation and maintenance of sports and play surfaces in the UK. Since the launch of the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Sport and Play Surfaces in October 2008, over 300 candidates from the industry have gained the qualification. The NVQ is delivered by South Birmingham College with workplace examinations assessing the candidate's skill level and on-site competence. Therefore no need to attend College! Who is the qualification for? It has been designed for those involved in the installation and maintenance of sport and play surfaces at an operational level. More importantly Clients, Governing Bodies, Funding Agencies could use the growing evidence of work related qualifications to give credit to those organisations employing ‘qualified’ individuals who can demonstrate competence in building football turf pitches and other associated sports facilities. How much will it cost? Currently government funding can be obtained making the qualification virtually free of charge. It is provided through "train to gain" and other schemes by which certain requirements need to be met by the employer and individual. How does the qualification work and how long will it take? With it being a one-on-one work based qualification, it has a very flexible delivery with the timescale being dictated by the candidate. The course consists of three mandatory units and three options units. The qualification is assessed at a mutually convenient time for the learner, the employer and the assessor. What can I do after this qualification? It is important that the industry start to recognise these qualifications and perhaps preferentially select organisations that employ skilled people. This is one way to make sure we improve the build quality of the football turf pitches currently being constructed. The NVQ has been recognised as the qualification within the sport and play construction industry to obtain for construction workers. It will demonstrate your expertise and knowledge in the industry and illustrate levels of competency. The qualification is supported by key sports governing bodies that need to increasingly expect projects that they fund to be constructed by contractors who employ qualified operatives. Future Developments Work is also underway on the development of a NVQ Level 3 to be launched in 2012 . As well as providing some fundamental management units, the level 3 qualifications will focus on the specialist skills that are essential to the sports and play surfacing industry, such as installation of shock pads, synthetic turf, polymeric and acrylic surfaces. Could this be a means of raising standards leading to better build quality in our industry? It will if we all get behind it.