National Occupational Standards

Sector Profile

The sector is vitally important to both public and private sectors. Sales of public sector products form an important part of the sector’s overall makeup, despite the common perception that sales are an exclusively private sector activity.

The size of the sector is difficult to measure accurately, but it is estimated that sales and customer service occupations account for eight per cent of all employment in the UK; although a number of these individuals will be in predominantly customer service-related positions.


Two National Occupational Standards (NOS) suites have been developed to cover sales-related job functions.


These standards are for those working in sales roles or performing sales functions. They cover a full range of functions including developing sales strategies, managing sales territories and teams, and telephone selling.

Sales (PDF) ⇢

Marketing & Sales for Non-Specialists

These standards are aimed at those who are not marketing specialists but whose job involves marketing and selling. The standards cover best practice across marketing and selling activities.

Marketing & Sales for Non-Specialists (PDF) ⇢


A range of both vocational and academic sales qualifications are available within the UK and internationally. We have developed a number of specific Sales vocational qualifications including NVQs at levels 2 and 3.

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

Assessment Strategy (PDF) ⇢

QCF Units

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

Sales Level 2 QCF Units (PDF) ⇢
Sales Level 3 QCF Units (PDF) ⇢
Sales Level 4 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.