The QF is a hierarchy of qualifications. By clearly outlining what a holder of a certain qualification knows and can do, the QF not only helps learners and employers set their targets for learning and training, but also provides the pathways between qualifications for learners to reach their targets.
The QF is designed to be applicable to all sectors to facilitate the interface between academic, vocational and continuing education. Each of the seven levels is characterized by outcome-based generic level descriptors which describe the common features of qualifications at the same level. These level descriptors are not an exact science, but are used comparatively to locate a qualification at a particular level on the framework. In proposing a seven-level QF, the government have taken into account local qualifications and overseas experience. The QF is broadly comparable to qualifications systems in other countries.
The generic level descriptors (GLDs) describe the requirements of each level in four aspects - "Knowledge and Intellectual Skills", "Processes", "Application, Autonomy and Accountability" and "Communications, IT and Numeracy". Different industries may draw up their own competency requirements and standards, known as "Specification of Competency Standards" (SCSs), by making reference to the GLDs.