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When we refer to standards, what we actually mean is 'National Occupational Standards' or 'NOS', though generally they are just called 'the standards'. They are the basis of training in hair, beauty, nails and spa and form the backbone of programmes such as Apprenticeships as well as Codes of Practice.

What are National Occupational Standards?
National Occupational Standards (NOS) are a framework that describes what an individual needs to do, know and understand in order to carry out a particular job role or function in a particular industry. Habia creates the standards for hairdressing, beauty therapy, nail services, spa therapy, barbering and African type hair.

How are National Occupational Standards developed?
National Occupational Standards are developed by employers, educators, associations and industry professionals working together through the Habia Forums and Expert Working Groups. Draft occupational standards are created before being sent out for wider consultation in the industry. Final amends based on the results of the consultation are then made before the draft standards are submitted to the appropriate regulatory authorities for official approval.

How can National Occupational Standards be used?

Describe good practice in particular areas of work

Set out a statement of competence which bring together the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to do the work

Provide managers with a tool for a wide variety of workforce management and quality control

Offer a framework for training and development

Form the basis of a range of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), plus a range of other vocational qualifications such as Apprenticeships. (For details of new Hair and Beauty Qualifications for implementation from 1 August 2010 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - click here.)

How do National Occupational Standards help employers?

Increase productivity

Improve quality of goods and services

Reduce costs for recruitment by facilitating the selection of new employees

Provide a means for better human resources planning

Help effective skills upgrading

Act as a benchmark for rewarding experience, knowledge and competence.

How do National Occupational Standards help employees?

Identify skills and knowledge needed for occupations

Provide a reference to assess ability and training needs

Identify and support clear career paths

Provide guidelines for certification/accreditation

Increase mobility within industries.