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Frequently Asked Questions NOS database

The questions displayed are the most general, If you don't get the result you're looking for then contact us. 

In July 2016, the then Minister of State, Department for Education (Robert Halfron) officially transferred the UK Government’s interest in NOS and the NOS database to the Devolved Administrations of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The database is now collectively funded and governed by the Devolved Administrations and is managed on their behalf by Skills Development Scotland. NOS are available for employers, learners and other stakeholders to access freely, regardless of which UK nation they reside or work in.

If you are unsure of what to look for then use the search function to look at either Suite names or Occupations which would be in scope of your area of interest.  These currently range from Able Seaman through to Zoo Manager with approx. 1,000 other occupations in between. There are also contact details for the Standard Setting Organisations who may also be able to help.

The database will always show the most current NOS as whenever NOS are updated they replace the previous versions. These older NOS are either removed completely or marked as Legacy. Legacy means that the NOS may still be used in qualifications and so is still required. These can be identified by having the word Legacy at the end of the title and have the letter L at the end of the URN.

NOS are identified with a Unique Registration Number (URN). This is made up of several letters and numbers with the first 3 letter referring to the developing authority, the next set of characters the suite and the final set of letters and numbers the individual NOS identifier. As an example, a NOS with a URN such as LANAgM17 was developed by Lantra (LAN), is in the suite Agricultural Management (AgM) and is the 17th NOS of that suite.

NOS themselves are not intended as a vocational curriculum, but are used to influence the content and development of qualifications and training courses in many ways. They can be used directly in qualifications such as Scottish/National Vocational Qualifications and 1 NOS correlates directly to 1 unit in these qualifications. They can also be used to influence qualifications and other Standards by setting out the skills and knowledge that are required to be met. To become a qualification this must be approved and offered by an Awarding Organisation. NOS do not assess competency, nor do they dictate how training should be delivered or assessed – this is for Awarding Organisations and delivery agents to determine.

NOS can be used as a basis for a wide range of HR activities, including recruitment, performance management, training/skills needs analysis and organisational planning and improvement.

SOC stands for Standard Occupational Code and they classify occupations. Occupational groups have been identified for all NOS and Apprenticeship Frameworks and these determine the footprint of the occupations covered.