Endorsement terminology

There’s a lot of terminology to contend with when talking about endorsement, not least about what is getting endorsed – is it a course or workshop, an award or diploma, a qualification or CPD? Is it accredited or endorsed?

To provide some clarity we thought we would put together a short glossary:


A qualification is created by fully mapping the learning to a set of national occupational standards, which are the standards that determine what a person needs to know in order to do a particular job. Qualifications are accredited through an Awarding Organisation – for instance, CYQ, Cache, City & Guilds – to ensure they are fit for purpose. Accredited qualifications sit on the Qualifications & Credit Framework (QCF).

If you want to deliver qualifications, you must first become approved as a centre for one of the Awarding Organisations – talk to a few before deciding which one you want to go for.

QCF Verification

This is our endorsement product for training providers approved as a centre to deliver qualifications on behalf of a particular Awarding Organisation.  The qualifications are accredited by the AO so we are not endorsing them, but our approval shows that the provider themselves has achieve endorsement.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

CPD is training that is designed to build on the knowledge gained through a qualification. CPD does not sit on any qualification framework. Unless endorsed by SkillsActive, CPD cannot be relied upon to be fit for the industry. Endorsed CPD has gone through SkillsActive’s quality assurance process, giving piece of mind to learners. Should there be a problem with the CPD, SkillsActive fulfils the same role as an Awarding Organisation protecting learners taking their qualifications, in that the learner can come to us to act on their behalf should they have a complaint against an Endorsed Provider.

Course, Workshop, Other

For the purpose of endorsement, we endorse three categories of endorsement: Course, which must be at least 8 hours long, have a mandatory assessment, and part-map to relevant national occupational standards; Workshop, which must be at least 4 hours long, but doesn’t have to map or have an assessment; and Other, which essentially is anything that delivers professional development that isn’t a Course or a Workshop – for instance, reading material, conferences, podcasts, presentations.


These are terms that are associated with qualifications and indicate the level of knowledge and understanding learnt.


Awarding Organisations accredit qualifications, SkillsActive endorses CPD.


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