Question: I have just received an application for a position in my company and the applicant has listed a QCF qualification under educational achievement. I am familiar with NVQs, but what do these new qualifications mean? How do they compare with more familiar qualifications such as NVQs?
Daryl Young from the Department for Employment and Learning, replies:
A:QCF is the new qualifications and credit framework. It will contain all vocational qualifications by the end of 2010. It is based on revised national occupational standards and has been developed in partnership with employers through their sector skills councils. They are, therefore, the most relevant qualifications for today’s working world.
QCF qualifications are more flexible than earlier qualifications because they are made up of units, ‘bite-sized chunks’ of learning, that can be combined under specified rules to form full qualifications.
This benefits the learner, who can chart their own route through the qualifications system. It also benefits employers because it |opens up opportunities to provide more training that has been accredited by the qualifications regulator.
In future, all vocational qualifications will have a much simpler and consistent title. The title specifies how challenging the qualification is (the level), how long it takes to achieve, from Award (shortest), through Certificate to Diploma (longest), and what vocational area it relates to. For example, a Level 3 Certificate in Retail (Management) is equivalent to NVQ level 3 or A-level. It that it is a medium-length qualification (Certificate) and it covers management in the retail sector.
The QCF is also a more inclusive framework because it has the potential to recognise more learning. For example, employers can consider having their existing high-quality training accredited through the award of a QCF unit.
For further information about the QCF qualification and the opportunities it could offer to your business, visit the NI Vocational Qualifications Reform Programme website http://www.nivqrp.org.uk/ or contact Qualifications and e-Learning Branch at the Department for Employment and Learning 02890-257506.
Question: I know that the 50% tax rate for people with an income of over £150,000 will be introduced soon. I am unclear if all of my income will be affected by this.
Anne Fitzpatrick, Tax Partner, Baker Tilly Mooney Moore replies:
A: The 50% additional income tax rate on people with incomes over £150,000 will be introduced in April.
This will affect income of all types including: employee salaries and bonuses paid after April 5; business and professional profits for the year ending in 2010/11; pensions and other fixed incomes due to be paid after 5 April; compensation and termination payments received by taxpayers who otherwise would be beyond |the scope of the 50% rate; surrenders of life |insurance policies which are taxed as |income for higher and additional rate purposes; trusts of all sizes except for those life interest in possession trusts where the beneficiary receives the income direct and is taxed on it personally; and sellers of shares whose disposal proceeds are taxed as income under the ‘transactions in securities’ rules.