- Northern Ireland
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 apprenticeship.
The qualifications have been designed to provide an understanding of how holistic health and complementary therapies contribute to an individual's health and wellbeing. Students will have an understanding of the requirements of practitioners in the areas of holistic health and complementary therapies.
The qualifications will be used by colleges of further and higher education in Northern Ireland, for courses which are funded by the Department of Economy.
These qualifications are designed for post-16 students and comply with CCEA Regulation's General Conditions of Recognition. They are also suitable for adults.
Regulation of vocational qualifications
The regulation of vocational qualifications is the responsibility of the respective regulators in each UK country – Ofqual (England), CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland), SQA (Scotland), and Qualifications Wales (Wales). The regulatory approach undertaken for vocational qualifications is different from A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification criteria for vocational qualifications, as there currently are for GCSEs, and AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.
Both qualifications are credit-rated and unit-based. The Certificate comprises two mandatory units for a total of 15 credits. The Diploma comprises three mandatory units for a total of 30 credits, plus an additional 22 credits selected from a choice of six optional units.
The following units are contained in the qualifications:
Personal Growth for Holistic Health and Wellbeing, and Theory and Practice of Holistic Health and Complementary Therapies
- Mandatory units – Holistic Health and Wellbeing; Theory and Principles of Holistic Health and Complementary Therapies; Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology
- Optional units – Evidence-Based Care in Complementary Therapies; Psychoneuroimmunology in Complementary Medicine; Reflection on Own Learning and Development within Holistic Health and Complementary Therapy; Managing a Small Business; Study Skills; Undertaking a Research Project
- Holistic health and complementary therapies
- Level 3
Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland, and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, though many may be offered on a three-country basis.
Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6/7.
The qualifications are graded Pass or Fail.
The qualifications are internally assessed, internally verified, and subject to OCNNI's quality assurance processes. Units are achieved through internally set, internally verified evidence. External verification is carried out with centres to confirm the evaluation of risk and compliance, and to ensure the integrity of the qualifications.
The contribution of assessment components to the overall grade varies between units (i.e. units have different credit values), though students must complete a minimum number of credits to gain the full qualification (15 for the Certificate and 52 for the Diploma).
Students who are unsuccessful may resit the assessments for each unit of the qualification and with the approval of the awarding organisation, within the shelf life of the qualification.
Diploma: 520 TQT
Certificate: 150 TQT
OCN NI Level 3 Diploma in the Theory of Holistic Health and Complementary Therapies
OCN NI Level 3 Certificate in Holistic Health and Complementary Therapies
There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational qualifications:
- 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 apprenticeship
- if they are presented for admission to HE, it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications
Applicants holding these qualifications will mainly be further and higher education college leavers.
The courses will normally run over a two-year period commencing in September and finishing in June, with results published in July/August.
The Certificate has been in operation, and was first awarded in 2017. The Diploma will be first awarded in 2018.
The results of the OCNNI Level 3 Diploma in the Theory of Holistic Health and Complementary Therapie,s and Certificate in Holistic Health and Complementary Therapies, are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualification. HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.
OCNNI provides statistics to CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland) and Ofqual (England) for their Technical and Professional (Vocational) Qualifications quarterly bulletins. OCNNI's Annual Report includes a list of all OCNNI qualifications awarded and is published through the Charities Commission for Northern Ireland.
The qualifications will allow progression to higher education and/or employment. A key feature of the Diploma was to provide progression to foundation degrees in the areas of holistic health and complementary therapies.
Link to specification for Diploma – www.ocnni.org.uk/qualifications/ocn-ni-level-3-diploma-in-the-theory-of-holistic-health-and-complementary-therapies-60317942/.
Link to specification for Certificate – www.ocnni.org.uk/qualifications/ocn-ni-level-3-certificate-in-holistic-health-and-complementary-therapies-60127764/.