NCFE Level 3 Skills for Business suite

Qualification codes
601/2640/1 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business)
601/2647/4 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business: Enterprise)
601/2648/6 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business: Finance)
601/2649/8 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business: Human Resources)
601/2650/4 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business: IT)
601/2651/6 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business: Retail)
601/2652/8 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business: Sales and Marketing)
603/2491/0 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business: Customer Service)

Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable students to gain the skills required to perform a particular job, or qualifications that may be taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.

Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the DfE performance tables, if approved for teaching to 16-19 year olds by the Secretary of State for Education in England under Section 96, where this is in the best interests of individual students.

These qualifications provide students with a structured and challenging individualised learning programme that supports their development and progression in line with their future career plans.

They are the substantial qualification component of the study programme and are suitable for students aged 16 and above and provide transferable skills, knowledge and understanding that can be applied in any business setting.

The units are aligned to National Occupational Standards for business and represent the core attributes required by employers in a range of business settings.

Students can progress into further study to build upon these skills or to focus on a more specific vocational pathway.

These qualifications aim to provide students with:

  • an understanding of the essential skills required to work successfully in a business environment
  • the skills required to solve problems in a business environment
  • an understanding of business culture and responsibilities
  • the ability to successfully communicate and work with others in a business environment
  • the opportunity to develop the skills required to manage and improve their own performance in a business environment

The qualifications are graded Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction*.

The unit grades are aggregated to form the final overall qualification grade. A Distinction* grade will be awarded to students who have consistently achieved a Distinction grade in every unit.


Internally assessed and externally quality assured portfolio of evidence.

Students are set assignments. These may be in the form of briefs, scenarios, problem-solving exercises and research investigations. They are contextualised using realistic scenarios. The assessment may require students to write a report, write a business proposal, deliver a presentation, or make conclusions based on extensive research into a practical investigation.

All assessment is criterion-referenced, based on the achievement of specified learning outcomes. Each unit within a qualification has specified assessment guidance.

Further information

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational qualifications that are not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables for England:

  • Some of these qualifications are occupational, and may not be designed specifically for progression to HE.
  • Applicants holding these qualifications may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature students who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside these qualifications.
  • These qualifications may have been taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
  • If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.

This suite of qualifications has been developed in partnership with employers, universities and other subject experts to ensure that the content is current and relevant.

Level 3 criteria require students to analyse, draw conclusions, interpret or justify, which are all examples of higher level skills. This means that evidence provided for the portfolio will also demonstrate the development and use of higher level learning skills.

Students may combine the Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business with other qualifications e.g. A levels or other vocational qualifications.

Further information can be found in the Qualification Specifications listed here: