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How ILM qualifications work

Qualifications designed by us, made for you

ILM qualifications are made up of individual units (topics of study). An ILM training provider will customise these units in collaboration with you to offer you a tailor-made training solution unique to your organisation.

Most of ILM’s leadership and management qualifications are made up entirely from optional units, although some qualifications have mandatory units covering essential skills and knowledge. The benefits are:

  • ILM qualifications are highly flexible.
  • You don’t waste time on topics that are not relevant in your organisation.
  • You can play to your strengths and close your skills gaps.
  • You can follow the pathway to the qualification that is the best fit for you.
  • It makes training useful, relevant and engaging.

Our most flexible qualifications, such as the core leadership and management VRQs, can be customised by selecting the units that are suitable for your organisation.

As you progress up the levels of learning, units get more complex and take longer to complete. This complexity is expressed in a unit’s ‘credit value’ – the more complex the unit, the higher the credit value.

Understanding credits

Every QCF qualification is made up of a number of credits, each unit has a credit value that tells you roughly how long it takes to complete – one credit represents about 10 hours’ work. The more complex a unit is, the higher its credit value. Generally, a Level 2 qualification has units with a lower credit value than a Level 5 qualification. This is because topics at a higher level cover more ground and expect greater understanding, knowledge and skills.

Award, certificate or diploma?

Each level of study (levels 2 to 7) may have the option be completed as an award, certificate or diploma, this is based on the amount of credits completed during that level of study:

  • Awards are 1 to 12 credits (10 and 120 hours’ learning)
  • Certificates are 13 to 36 credits (130 to 360 hours’ learning)
  • Diplomas are 37 or more credits (370 or more hours’ learning)

The time spent learning includes time spent in:

  • Structured learning, time spent face-to-face with the training provider, or in study directed by the tutor.
  • Self-study, reading around the topic.
  • Work-based tasks and assignments, carrying out tasks on the job.
  • Self-reflection and planning for future career development.

Find out more about ILM qualification levels


Next steps

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