University of Leicester
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QCF Qualifications as a Catalyst for Learning and Performance: An Investigation into the Link between Vocational Qualifications and Skills

posted on 2012-09-12, 12:39 authored by Debbie Ann Tuckwood
During the 2000s, the former UK Government introduced the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) in an attempt to increase the relevance of qualifications and the qualification level of the UK labour force (HMSO 2006). However views about the value of the QCF and qualifications generally are contested. Through longitudinal case study research, the thesis finds a vocational purpose for qualifications that supports a culture of continuous improvement. This results in models that contribute to thinking about vocational learning and the role of qualifications, and provide a conceptional bridge between paradigms of workplace learning and concepts of organisational excellence. The thesis explores common understanding of learning and skills to explain issues relating to National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and the QCF. In particular the thesis identifies significant implementation problems for the QCF due to differing ontological and epistemological understanding of the meaning of skills and their measurement, and requirements for different delivery and assessment models. In addition, the study identifies that rapidly changing organisational arrangements and regulation hinder the establishment of a more diverse and inclusive QCF. The thesis concludes that the QCF best fits Hager’s (2002) concept of learning that encompasses learning of many different kinds. Also the QCF is valuable as a flexible framework that establishes a degree of order in complex, rapidly changing learning environments. However the qualifications require broadly specified assessment criteria, and links to external communities of practice and associated learning packages.



Sung, Johnny; Bishop, Daniel

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DSocSci