There are six OS qualifications accredited at Level 1 and six at Level 2 on the National Qualifications Framework, with the following titles:
- Business and Services;
- Creativity and Design;
- Environment and Society; and
- Technology and Innovation.
There are also two Entry Level qualifications:
- ELQ Occupational Studies; and
- ELQ Extended Occupational Studies.
Around 9000 learners in Northern Ireland achieve Occupational Studies qualifications each year. Around three quarters will progress to training programmes after school. A growing number use the qualifications to go on to:
- Level 2 and 3 qualifications in further education colleges;
- sixth form at school; and/or
- higher education after age 19.
Some schools offer Occupational Studies as an enrichment qualification; this enables learners in Years 13 and 14 to experience different career pathways or develop their life skills. See the Progression Routes section for examples of past learners' career pathways.
There have been changes to Occupational Studies for first teaching September 2013, including work to the level of challenge and grading within the qualifications. See the Grading section for more details. A circular was sent to all schools with this information in June 2013.