Frequently Asked Questions

What are National Occupational Standards?

National Occupational Standards (NOS) are the recognised standards that our industry works and trains by across the UK.

NOS set out the skills, knowledge and understanding required by employers to undertake a particular task or job role to a nationally recognised level of competence, helping formalise training requirements for employers and employees across the UK.

Eleven NOS suites apply to roles within the UK fashion and textile industry. 

  • Apparel Manufacturing Technology
  • Balanced Sourcing and New Product Development
  • Bespoke Cutting and Tailoring
  • Footwear, Leather Production and Leathergoods
  • Heritage
  • Laundry, Wet and Dry Cleaning
  • Man Made Fibres
  • Manufacturing Textile and Sewn Products
  • Sustainability in Manufacturing
  • Technical Textiles
  • Textiles and Materials Design

Use this link and the titles above to find full information about each NOS suite. NOS Search.

UKFT is responsible for ensuring these crucial benchmarking standards meet the changing needs of the UK fashion and textile industry. UKFT continually review and update NOS suites and work with employer steering groups across the UK to ensure that the portfolio is fit for the future.


What is an EPAO?

An EPAO is an End-Point Assessment Organisation.

The end-point assessment of apprenticeships must be externally quality assured by an outside organisation chosen by the employers who developed the apprenticeship standards. This is to ensure all the tests and results are valid, accurate and reliable across all end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs).

For the fashion and textiles sector there are two EPAOs:


What is an Awarding Organisation?

An Awarding Organisation (AO) designs and develops training programmes such as vocational qualifications. They also register and certificate candidates.

Responsibilities include the confirmation of achievement linked to learning outcomes following an assessment and quality assurance process. 

In terms of Work Based Learning (WBL) training, most AOs will follow industry standards/assessment strategies set by the Sector Skills Bodies and informed by employers.


Which level should I use?

The system works differently depending on which nation you are operating in.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are nine qualification levels from entry level to level 8. In Scotland, the levels are different.

Find out more in A Guide to Levels.