A National Occupational Standard (NOS) is a document that describes the knowledge, skills and understanding an individual needs to be competent at a job.

How NOS are used

NOS can be used in many different ways. Awarding Bodies can create qualifications to train individuals for a job. These qualifications can then be used in an Apprenticeship Framework or a training programme.

Employers can create a job description to recruit new staff or a training plan to develop their skills. Also, individuals can research different types of jobs and match their skills/experience to those that are needed.

National Occupational Standards Strategy 2022 and beyond

Building on the strong foundation of the NOS brand, the strategy aims to make NOS even more usable and accessible and recognises the need for cross-cutting standards for transferrable skills such as leadership and management and digitals skills, to facilitate movement between sectors. The strategy also outlines plans to make NOS processes and systems more agile and accessible which includes continuing work to improve the NOS database and website.  The NOS Strategy 2022 and beyond can be accessed via the following link:

UK Standards database

All of the completed and approved NOS are kept on a database – UK Standards. This is accessible to everyone across the UK and allows people to search for standards across a broad range of job roles and industries.

To ensure NOS are up to date and fit for purpose, they are regularly reviewed and updated to reflect the needs of industry and new NOS are also commissioned to reflect new and changing industries. A key part of the process for updating and creating NOS is consultation with employers and stakeholders across the UK. This is a chance for you to contribute your views and experiences and influence the future of standards.

For further information on National Occupational Standards in Northern Ireland, email: NOS.Reviews@economy-ni.gov.uk


An infographic summarising NOS achievements in 2021/2022 has been published:

National Occupational Standards (NOS) Annual Report for 2022/2023 has also been published:


Throughout the year Delivery Partners will be reviewing existing NOS and developing new NOS across a range of sectors. A vital part of this review and development work is seeking feedback from stakeholders.

Feedback is needed from across a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that NOS are up-to-date and fit for purpose and meet the needs of individual sectors. This includes employers, industry experts, training providers, further and higher education and other relevant stakeholders in Northern Ireland.

For anyone interested in contributing to the development of National Occupational Standards, live consultation events will be shared via our social media pages:

Back to top