National Occupational Standards

Sector Profile

As an occupational group, it is difficult to determine the exact size of the workforce involved in delivering customer service, however in 2010 it was estimated that just over 2.5 million people were employed in sales and customer service occupations across the UK. This does not include those individuals who also use customer service skills as a part of their job roles.

Employers across all sectors are giving increasing attention to the quality of service they provide to customers. This focus is being driven by the demands of customers who have increasingly higher expectations alongside a more individualised service.


A suite of National Occupational Standards (NOS) has been developed to identify current cover customer service-related job functions that are generic and cross all sector boundaries and job roles.

Customer Service (PDF) ⇢

Our suite of Customer Service NOS is designed for use across all sectors and for any job role within those sectors. They can be used for people whose role is entirely customer service-focused, as well as those for whom customer service is only part of their role.


A wide range of vocational and knowledge based Customer Service qualifications are available within the UK and internationally. We have developed a number of specific Customer Service vocational and knowledge based qualifications including NVQs/ SVQs and Technical (knowledge based) Certificates at levels 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Please find below the latest assessment strategy for Customer Service NVQs/SVQs.

Assessment Strategy (PDF) ⇢

QCF Units

QCF units have been developed to cover the knowledge and skills needed by those in Customer Service roles.

Customer Service QCF Units (PDF) ⇢

Define the Standards for Your Sector

Our NOS and frameworks have been developed to best represent the skills that you need in your sector. If you would like to join one of our sector-focused steering groups and ensure that training continues to work for your business, please contact us on

We are proud to work with

Instructus Skills is a pan-sector body that represents the training needs of over 11 million employees across the UK. From consultations to certification, we ensure that apprenticeships deliver the skilled workers that employers need.

In other words, we make apprenticeships work.