The future of NVQs is in doubt after it emerged this week that the Government is planning the biggest overhaul of vocational qualifications for 20 years.
Under the proposals, new qualifications - some of which may be based on NVQs - will primarily use different titles. Retaining the NVQ name will be optional.
A new three-tier range of awards, certificates and diplomas are being created under the Qualifications and Credit Framework.
Employers in sectors such as manufacturing and construction have protested that the new range of qualifications will undermine their attempts to make NVQs a universally accepted standard.
While most NVQs are taken in colleges or with private training companies, schools have also adopted them. Several offer language NVQs for pupils who are unlikely to gain a C-grade at GCSE.
Andy Powell, chief executive of the Edge foundation, a charity that promotes vocational options, said: "NVQs are big and growing across the board. You would never see something like this happening with academic options, and that's not good.
"On the vocational side, we see things that would never happen with GCSEs or A-levels."
A spokesman for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said the new framework would allow for more flexible qualifications to meet students' and employers' needs.