Standards and Qualifications

PSS is the Standards Setting Body for the ports sector and works with employers, and other key stakeholders, to develop National Occupational Standards and Qualifications frameworks that will meet the needs of employers and learners into the future.

National Occupational Standards

Almost all sectors within industry have developed National Occupational Standards (NOS). NOS identify key job roles within a particular sector, break each role into its component activities and define the performance, behaviour and knowledge that an employee needs to undertake the activity.

The ports sector currently has five completed sets of NOS. Two are concerned with port operations and three with harbour management.

The NOS reflect best practice within industry and, as such, provide a useful benchmark against which individual employee performance can be measured. They can therefore be adapted for use as management tools covering a range of employer functions including recruitment, employee development and managing performance.

PSS has developed guidance notes to illustrate some of the ways in which the Ports Sector NOS can be utilised within a port organisation. Examples and document templates can be further adapted and personalised for everyday use. These are available as a booklet to download.

Qualifications frameworks

PSS is developing a framework of qualifications that will recognise the professionalism and aid the development of those already working within the ports sector. The framework will also provide a career pathway and entry qualifications for those considering working in the ports sector. Within this framework are planned National and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (N/SVQs), Apprenticeships (Foundation Modern Apprenticeships (FMA) in Wales), Advanced Apprenticeships (Modern Apprenticeships in Wales and Scotland) and a Foundation Degree.

National and Scottish Vocational Qualifications are qualifications designed to recognise the skills and knowledge of those already working within the ports sector, through assessment of work performance. Although they are not strictly development programmes, many assessment centres have the capability to help individuals plan and possibly, meet, their development needs so that they can complete the qualification. Please visit the N/SVQ page for further information about these qualifications and the options available.

Apprenticeships are qualifications designed to develop the skills and knowledge of new entrants and until very recently were limited to young people in the 16-24 age group. With the removal of the age restriction, adults will increasingly find more opportunities to enter the industry through an apprenticeship, or to change their career pathway within the industry. Please visit the Apprenticeship page for further information about these qualifications and the options available.

Foundation degrees are qualifications designed to develop management level skills and knowledge. A Foundation Degree in ports can be a valuable part of a career path towards becoming a:

  • Port Manager
  • Harbour Master
  • Marine Pilots
  • Vessel Traffic Services

For further information, please contact PSS.