A qualification is a planned combination of learning outcomes with a defined purpose or purposes, intended to provide qualifying learners with applied competence and a basis for further learning.

A qualification is also a socially and economically meaningful learning achievement – this makes it different from a unit standard or part qualification which can be building blocks of a qualification.

Successful assessment and the achievement of qualifications are tangible proof for learners and employees that the learning has taken place, not just paper certification that a learner was spoon-fed a certain amount of knowledge.

There are several ways to get a qualification besides formal study at a further or higher education institution. These include Learnerships, skills programms and the recognition of what people already know.