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NVQ Level 3: Working in a Business Environment

Updated on May 06, 2015
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Livingsta's positive experience in business administration, customer service and education motivated her to share her experience with others

Working in a Business Environment is a Group A, three-credit mandatory unit for the Level 3 National Vocational Qualification diploma in Business and Administration, offered in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This module helps the candidate achieve a thorough understanding of interpersonal dynamics, workplace safety, efficiency, sustainability and security.

This article will address each of the module's outcomes, explain what they mean, and how to achieve them. It will help you gain an understanding of what candidates are generally expected to write. Depending on your specific job, you will have to modify what's written here for your own work and organization when preparing your own portfolio.

How to Use this Page

This article covers Unit 303 for the NVQ Level 3 diploma in Business and Administration, which covers elements of communication in a workplace setting.

This guide is informative and meant to walk you through the process of compiling your own portfolio. Do not directly copy anything here for your file, as your file needs to be tailored to the specifics of your job and organisation. Copying the language from this article directly is not only dishonest, but it will weaken your file.

Outcome 1: Understand the Purpose and Benefits of Respecting and Supporting Other People at Work

1.1 Explain the Purpose of Supporting Other People at Work

Teamwork contributes to the overall success of the organization. As an individual, you should consider how your actions help or hinder your team's objectives. Similarly, your team has a role as part of a department or a company’s overall objectives. Individuals on a team need to support each other and see each other's work as their own.

Teamwork has many advantages:

  • It can be more rewarding than individual work, because success is shared and amplified among a group.
  • When members of a team support each other, things get done faster.
  • If you are struggling with an individual task, you can ask a co-worker for help, and vice versa.
  • A sense of shared responsibility will encourage people to take their tasks seriously, so as not to let down their colleagues.

1.2 Explain the Purpose of Helping Other People to Work Effectively and Efficiently

Helping other people at work improves productivity, intra-office relationships and morale. Moreover, supportive and collaborative workplaces are more efficient, as working together hastens problem-solving and ensures deadlines are met.

Working with other individuals helps you:

  • Communicate more effectively and learn to respect others.
  • Share work goals, objectives, priorities and responsibilities.
  • Work in a way that makes best use of your particular abilities, allowing team members to specialise in their personal strengths.
  • Solve problems more quickly and effectively.
  • Deliver work on time and in budget.
  • Receive and provide feedback, helping everyone on the team improve.

This element also asks that you understand the purpose of working with other organisations, such as a different company or a different department within your company. Working with other organizations helps you:

  • Understand different work ethics and values and how to adapt to different expectations.
  • Learn new strategies for problems similar to your own.
  • Get exposed to new services or technologies.
  • Share information and seek advice.

1.3 Explain What is Meant by Diversity and Why it Should be Valued

Valuing diversity in a business environment means respecting colleagues regardless of their race, gender, heritage, customs, beliefs, sexuality, physical appearance, mental or physical capabilities, and so forth.

In today's working world, we all have to work with people who are different from ourselves in either background or belief. Not only should you tolerate such differences, but you should understand the ways in which they enrich an organisation.

Diverse workplaces:

  • Expose people to different value systems, work ethics and personality types and learn new ways to approach problems.
  • Contain a variety of views and opinions, forcing everyone to refine and modify their own stances while taking into account other's points of view.
  • Find creative solutions to problems, taking in input from a variety of angles.

1.4 Outline the Benefits of Diversity to an Organisation

The success of an organization depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits.

Benefits of workplace diversity:

  • You get a variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing and the allocation of resources.
  • Employees from diverse backgrounds bring a variety of talents, experiences and outlooks.

Research shows that diversity isn't just good from a human-relations perspective, but can add real value to businesses and contribute to the bottom line.

1.5 Explain How to Treat Other People in a Way that is Sensitive to Their Needs

This one is pretty simple: treat others the way you would like to be treated if you were in their situation. Treating colleagues with kindness means:

  • Being empathetic and relating to the way someone feels.
  • Listening closely and carefully.
  • Asking what people need and trying to meet those needs.

Try to imagine yourself in another person's shoes and imagine how you would feel if you were them. By doing so, you can usually figure out how that person would like to be treated. When in doubt, be as kind and courteous as possible.

No matter what you do, though, some people are going to be irritating, frustrating or mean, and you will have to learn how deal with them. Consider the following:

  • Before you judge someone, try giving them the benefit of the doubt. You may be the one at fault, or they may have something going on in their personal life that's causing them to act out at work.
  • Try to speak to them more often and see how they respond. You may just have to get to know each other better.
  • If all else fails, adopt an attitude of aloof toleration and continue to show the person the type of respect you would like to receive.

1.6 Explain How to Treat Other People in a Way that Respects Their Abilities, Background, Values, Customs and Beliefs

In order to function at work and in your personal life, you need to constantly consider people's opinions and feelings.

In order to achieve this you need to:

  • Understand other people’s views and where they come from. Ask them questions about why they see things they way they do.
  • Be sensitive and diplomatic. Think before you speak and ask yourself if what you're about to say would offend someone.
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Take into consideration others' social and cultural backgrounds, both as a way to understand them better and to be more tactful.
  • Listen to others during disagreements.

Different people will have different values and priorities, and you need to be thoughtful about how your language and demeanor in the workplace are respectful of that diversity.

1.7 Describe Ways in Which it is Possible to Learn From Others at Work

Learning from others is very important in business. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, skills and talents. Different people follow different strategies to solve difficult problems. You should take every opportunity to learn from co-workers to sharpen your skills and learn new ones.

Here are some ways you can learn from others at work:

  • Pay attention to how your colleagues act and react in difficult situations.
  • Ask for a demonstration when you want to learn how to do something.
  • Request guidance when you're struggling or are unsure about how to move forward.
  • Try to meet new people at work who you can teach you new skills.
  • Ask for your colleagues' opinions on your work and ask them for career advice.
  • Network both in and out of the office.
  • Build positive relationships with colleagues and superiors.
  • Use high-achieving people as a source of inspiration.

Outcome 2: Understand How to Maintain Security and Confidentiality at Work and Deal With Concerns

2.1 Outline the Purpose and Benefits of Maintaining Security and Confidentiality at Work

  • Information and data security mean protecting digital material and sensitive paperwork from unauthorised access. The computer systems where data is stored should be protected. Information security includes both legal privacy requirements and business-specific standards.
  • Networks are protected by both technology and the people who use them. Know what information at your workplace is confidential, and who can have access to it. Never give information to someone who shouldn't have access.
  • Data related to recruitment, compensation and management of employees is highly sensitive and confidential. In the wrong hands, such information could be used to commit fraud or identity theft.
  • Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism. Employees must not not disclose information about the organisation or fellow workers without authorisation.

2.2 Outline Requirements for Security and Confidentiality in an Organisation

Confidentiality and information security are important functions of any organisation. Information leaks can lead to legal troubles or a loss of revenue.

The requirements for security and confidentiality are:

  • All information should be in its true and original form and not doctored or dishonestly modified in any way.
  • An organisation should be prepared to give access to systems that store, process and deliver information to the right people at the right time.

All companies should have their own policies and procedures regarding security and confidentiality, and all employees must abide by these policies and procedures. The Data Protection Act, Human Rights Act and Consumer Rights Acts cover issues of workplace confidentiality and information.

2.3 Outline Legal Requirements for Security and Confidentiality as Required

Every organisation should be careful about how they handle their data.

Data information flowing in and out of the company can be in any of the following forms:

  • E-mails
  • Letters and post
  • Paper files
  • Course documentation
  • Verbal conversations
  • Memory sticks and discs
  • Computer files
  • Refuse and trash

The following may be considered sensitive material in that it carries an individual's personal details:

  • Curriculum vitae and resumes
  • Financial information of customers and staff
  • Health information
  • Personal information obtained through verbal conversation
  • Naming of service users during training

You should know your organisation's protocol for handling sensitive material. Some general guidelines:

  • With temporary office staff, clients and visitors, share only what is essential for their business, and be sure temporary staff know company policy regarding confidentiality.
  • Think before taking information out of the office, including computers, memory sticks and paper documents.
  • If information has to be released, only reveal what is absolutely necessary, and nothing more.
  • Ensure safe disposal of data and documents.
  • Inform senior staff if you have any concerns regarding security or confidentiality

The following legislation concerns data protection and confidentiality:

  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Common Law of Confidentiality

2.4 Describe Procedures for Dealing With Concerns About Security and Confidentiality in an Organisation

Every employee should be made aware of the rules and regulations of their organisation. If you find that there is something happening in your office that could be a risk or violation, you need to report to the correct department or superior.

The proceduresfor dealing with concerns about security and confidentiality in an organisation are:

  • Identify potential problems
  • Identify potential loss due to a problem
  • Determine possible preventative measures

Outcome 3: Understand How to Assess, Manage and Monitor Risk in the Workplace

3.1 Describe Sources of Risk in an Organisation, Including Health and Safety

Sources of risk include:

  • Accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Fire, including electrical issues
  • Heavy lifting
  • Burglary and theft
  • Disclosing private and restricted computer data
  • Unauthorized use of the Internet

Be aware of these risks and know who at your organisation should be reported to.

3.2 Explain How to Assess and Monitor Risks in an Organisation

  • Identify and evaluate potential risks by ensuring that tested policies and procedures are in place to effectively manage them.
  • Given that accidents can and will occur, have a plan ready to deal with them, thereby avoiding them to become bigger issues.

3.3 Describe Ways of Minimising Risk in an Organisation

Accidents and other problems can and will happen. With flexible structures and controls in place, you can minimise the risk of greater catastrophe. Also, keep abreast of safety procedures and office maintenance, which can minimise the risk of accidents happening at work.

Outcome 4: Understand the Purpose of Keeping Waste to a Minimum in a Business Environment, and the Procedures to Follow

4.1 Describe the Purpose and Benefits of Keeping Workplace Waste to a Minimum

Keep waste to a minimum in the work place.

  • Use time efficiently
  • Distribute office supplies wisely and discourage theft
  • Save energy by turning of lights, computers and other appliances when not in use
  • Recycle paper and other recyclable waste

Taking these steps will keep workplaces tidy and save organisations money.

4.2 Describe the Main Causes of Waste That May Occur in a Business Environment

  • When leaving the room or office, make sure the lights are off.
  • Minimise paper waste and excessive use of disposable office supplies. Only print out documents when necessary and try to switch to paperless, digital work.

4.3 Describe Ways of Minimising Waste, Including Using Technology and Other Procedures

  • Keep the faxes, printers and copiers in good working order, so paper and time are not wasted if they break. Order good quality paper that is the recommended weight for office machines.
  • Change fax and copier settings so they do not print the confirmation page or other extraneous paper.
  • Ask employees to sweep their desks periodically for excess pens, sticky labels and other supplies.
  • Order only a limited amount of supplies for a short period.
  • Advise employees not to take supplies home.
  • Don't make excessive copies.
  • Organize supplies and remove out-of-date ones.

4.4 Explain the Purpose and Benefits of Recycling

Recycling is the process by which waste material is repurposed into usable goods.

  • Offices should have a recycling program in place, by which paper, plastic, glass and metal can be recycled instead of being thrown away, and employees should be encouraged to recycle as much trash as possible.
  • When possible, offices should purchase office supplies—such as paper goods—made from post-consumer recycled materials.
  • Reuse or re-purpose office supplies when possible, for instance by re-using printed documents as scratch paper.

Recycling:

  • Reduces solid waste, thereby conserving natural resources such as trees.
  • Helps reduce global warming and pollution.
  • Reduces the size of landfills.
  • Helps save money.

4.5 Describe Organisational Procedures for Recycling Materials, and Their Purpose

It is important for your organisation to recycle both to reduce its environmental impact and to set a good example for employees. Every office will have its own procedures and policies for recycling, which should be available through your office manager, employee handbook or signs around the office.

4.6 Describe Ways in Which Waste May be Minimised by Regularly Maintaining Equipment

  • All machines have a period within which they must be serviced and certified for use. When these checks are performed regularly, machines last longer, saving money for the organisation.
  • Well-maintained machines also consume less power.

Outcome 5: Understand Procedures for Disposal of Hazardous Materials

5.1 Explain the Purpose of Procedures for the Recycling and Disposal of Hazardous Materials

  • If you work in a medical or science facility or in an industrial environment, you may frequently come into contact with hazardous waste.
  • If you do not work in such a place, you may still have to deal with materials that can injure or infect you or your co-workers. For example, emergency first-aid procedures should include a protocol for handling blood or vomit safely.

The exact procedure will vary from office to office, and will depend on what types of risks you are most likely to face.

5.2 Describe Procedures for the Recycling and Disposal of Hazardous Materials for an Organisation

  • Know the proper receptacles for any type of dangerous waste, such as needles, bandages or chemical waste.
  • In some situations, you may need to report emergencies to a designated point person, or contact emergency services.

Outcome 6: Understand Ways of Supporting Sustainability in an Organisation

6.1 Explain the Benefits to an Organisation of Improving Efficiency and Minimising Waste Over Time

Good environmental practices can reduce company costs by reducing the use of new materials, energy, water and packaging.

  • To save energy, switch off machines and lights at night.
  • Switch to energy-efficient appliances and lightbulbs when possible. Look for machines with an Energy Star label.
  • Save water by investing in water-efficient plumbing, fixing leaks and encouraging employees to conserve water.
  • If you package products, minimise the amount of paper and styrofoam used.

6.2 Describe Ways of Continuously Improving Working Methods and Use of Technology to Achieve Maximum Efficiency and Minimum Waste

  • When possible, switch from paper to digital communication, such as email or texting.
  • For documents, consider using cloud storage instead of printing things out for files. This will depend on your office's policies about cloud storage and digital security (not all confidential documents can be stored on any cloud storage platform).
  • Only print the final version of a document, and edit writing on a word processor.

6.3 Outline Ways of Selecting Sources of Materials and Equipment that Give Best Value for Money

Efficiency and durability help reduce consumption of power, spending on spare parts and repair, thus saving money for the organisation.

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    • profile image

      Mihail 2 months ago

      Do you have any answers for Unit 39: Support Environmental Sustainability in a Business Environment ? Because I can't find nothing.

      All I need is from 1.1 to 1.5. thanks

    • profile image

      Daivd 14 months ago

      Hi, was wondering if you still monitor this page? could do with some help on one of my question - follow organisational procedures and legal requirements in relation to discrimination legislation in own work. Any help would be much appreciated.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 14 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Gus, you're welcome. Sorry that I did not respond to your query earlier. I am hoping that you have completed the requested unit and qualification successfully. Take care and all the best! :)

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 14 months ago from United Kingdom

      You're welcome J! All the best! :)

    • profile image

      Gus 2 years ago

      Hi livingsta,

      These pages are fantastic by the way and are really helping me towards completing my NVQ. I'm also wondering if you have done unit 221 - use office equipment, because I'm really struggling with the questions for that one. My deadlines 12th March.

      Thank you so much!

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Nikki,

      Thank you for stopping by. I am sorry I have not done that unit, but can have a look for you. Do you have a deadline on that unit?

      I look forward to hearing from you. All the best!

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello DD, thank you for stopping by. I do have that hub on draft. Will be publishing it in another two days or so. All the best and do leave your comments to say if it was helpful. Thank you again!

    • profile image

      Nikki 2 years ago

      Hi I was wondering if you have done unit 221 use office equipment

      Thanks

    • profile image

      dd 2 years ago

      hi have you any guidance on unit 229 meet and welcome visitors it would be greatly appreciated

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      Really helped out. Thanks

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello JJ,

      I will have a look into this for you and see if I can quickly publish a hub :)

      All the best!

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Danny, sorry I did not get back to you sooner. Could you please mention the name of the unit? All the best

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Bartek,

      I am assuming that you are referring to the unit "Respond to change in a business environment". I am hoping it is not too late. I have just now managed to get around and look at the comments. I will be publishing the above unit in the next two days. All the best.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Robert, thank you for pointing this out to me, I will have a look at this and update. All the best :)

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Becky, sorry, I will have a look into this and update as soon as possible. Thank you for pointing this out to me :)

    • profile image

      JJ 2 years ago

      Hi

      Thank's a lot for the help but i've done this unit already i was wondering if you have unit 221 Use office equipment and unit 206 as well ?? Thank you ;)

    • profile image

      danny boon 2 years ago

      please help

    • Bartek Dedek profile image

      Bartek Dedek 2 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

      Respond to Change in a Business Environment / unit 57

      please help!!!!

    • profile image

      Robert 3 years ago

      Hey, this was helpful at times to get an idea of how much I should expect to type but some of your answers wasn't answering the questions that well, for example in 6.1 your answer was mostly ways how to rather than benefits.

      Still, good work though, I'm trying to get through quite a large amount of units so defiantly helpful to get an idea of what's expected.

    • profile image

      hannah 3 years ago

      Amazing help, many thanks x

    • profile image

      Becky 3 years ago

      In 2.1 'Security at work place' you only described what maintaining security was, you didn't really outline the purpose of why we maintain security and what the benefits are of doing so?

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Anna, thank you. I did not do unit 310 as it had very few credits. I can get it ready if you need. Please respond if you need help. All the best!

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Sam J, thank you and all the best :-)

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Sam, thank you. I am glad this was helpful. All the best :-)

    • profile image

      SAM J 3 years ago

      Brilliant.

    • profile image

      Sam 3 years ago

      Really helpful information. Thanks a lot

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Han, you're welcome!

    • profile image

      Han 3 years ago

      Hi, theres no need now but thanks anyway.

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Han from tokyo drift, sorry, I do not have it with me in hand, but if you need, I can have a look through that unit for you. Please get back to me if you need!

      Thank you and all the best.

    • profile image

      han from tokyo drift 3 years ago

      Hi, do you have any guidance with regards to meeting and welcoming visitors?

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi staying2l8, thank you. I am so pleased that you found this helpful and that was the reason why I shared my work here. It was quite difficult for me when I started. All the research and time spent, it was quite time consuming and stressful. I eventually got the idea of how to work on it and hope you are doing too!

      I wish you all the best.

    • profile image

      staying2l8 3 years ago

      Thank you for this it has really helped speed things up. I use it for inspirational purposes only but I really needed help with starting the questions, once or twice I have cut and paste and I written my above the paragraph, referencing as I’ve gone along. I wish I had known about this from the start

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Mariam, you need to write up the units according to your job role and organisation profile. You can follow this, but not copy word by word as they check your units to see if they have been copied. The induction pack that you received will have details relevant to that.

      All the best, take care!

    • profile image

      Mariam 4 years ago

      Hi

      Thank you for your hard work. I copied and past the information but changed in way that it was relevent to my placement. Is it ok?

      Please reply I am very nervouse about doing so without clear permission

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      You're welcome Nicole. Glad it was helpful!

    • profile image

      Nicole 4 years ago

      This was a perfect guideline to help me put my own thoughts and knowledge into words, thank you so much.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I am glad it helped Thomas, you're welcome!

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      Thomas 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for this help!! :-)

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      You're welcome Kath, I am glad it helped!

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      Kath 4 years ago

      Thank you! Helped a lot!

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      You're welcome Rohail!

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      rohail 4 years ago

      thanks for giving information

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you JHJ, I am so glad it was helpful. It can be quite confusing at the start, but when you start and finish each unit, you will get a grasp of what is required. All the best :-)

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      JHJ 4 years ago

      Thank you so much! I am doing this NVQ by choice! I am nearly 50 and have done my job for years, but these days you have to have proof! I have never done an NVQ before, it is very different to the college courses I have taken, your hub has given me an idea of what is required.

      Again, Thank you

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Jessicabx, I am glad it helped. I need to look through points 7+ to see what they are. Sorry you could not find them here!

    • profile image

      jessicabx 4 years ago

      thank you this really helped, although i was needing help more on points 7+ so having to search the web for help with them.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Chelsea, I am glad it helped!

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      Chelsea 4 years ago

      So glad I came across this, helped me a lot! Thankyou!

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Palmersglass! :-)

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      You're welcome Sara, I am glad it was helpful!

    • profile image

      sara 4 years ago

      Thankyou for your guidelines. really helped me

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Jordan, glad it was helpful!

    • profile image

      Jordan 4 years ago

      Really helpful thank you

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Samira, I am glad it helped!

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      Samira Noori 4 years ago

      Absolutely fantastic it is really helpful.

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you EJ, I am so glad it was helpful. My whole aim in publishing these hubs was to help people who will be looking for advise and guidance out there while doing their NVQs.

    • profile image

      EJ 4 years ago

      Extremely helpful for my own NVQ - Thanks

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Scott!

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      Scott Storick 4 years ago

      nice thought

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Kendal, I am glad it helped!

    • profile image

      kendal 4 years ago

      Thankyou for your guidelines. really helped me

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