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The Corporation

Posted: 25/06/09

Shining spotlight on vocational qualifications

Millions of people will gain a vocational qualification this year that will be the stepping stone to a brighter future – be that further vocational study or university, a better job or enhanced skills.

Last year 3.25m people in the UK gained a vocational qualification, adding to the millions who have already taken this route to success.

At West Notts College, 10, 417 students gained a vocational qualification in 2007/08, with the College boasting a 95% achievement rate.

Today (Wednesday 24 June 2009) is the second annual VQ Day – the biggest ever national celebration of the people who gain vocational qualifications every year and those who help them achieve this success.

It is being led by independent education foundation Edge and aims to recognise the success of these millions of vocational learners.

A national celebration event takes place in London on the day to showcase the diversity of vocational achievement in the UK.

Now, the College is marking VQ Day by highlighting the benefits that vocational qualifications bring to the local community and wider economy.

Principal and Chief Executive Asha Khemka OBE said: “With the economy facing an uncertain future, we need to encourage young people to explore the many paths to success and the opportunities available through gaining a vocational qualification, and celebrate those who are already doing so.

“Vocational qualifications give people high quality education and skills that improve the economic and social well-being of individuals, communities, companies and the nation as a whole; which is reflected in the wide range of courses that we offer.

“They’re a vital stepping stone to enabling people to achieve their goals; leading to further study, enhanced skills, greater job prospects and higher pay.”

A vocational qualification means a recognised qualification at any level relating to a particular line of work or specific job role.

These qualifications have an emphasis on the assessment of practical skills and knowledge.  Examples include BTECs, City & Guilds, NVQ/SVQ, OCR Nationals, Apprenticeships, HNC/HNDs, degrees with a largely vocational content and professional qualifications awarded through a recognised professional body.

VQ ambassador, celebrity chef James Martin said: “VQ Day is a chance for learners all over the UK to come together and celebrate their achievements. It showcases not only the variety of qualifications available, but the doorways a vocational qualification can open and the many people who have gone on to excel in their chosen field. As a vocational learner myself, I relish the opportunity to lend my support and get involved.”

Along with Edge, VQ Day is being supported by the wider education community including examination boards, employers' organisations, the Association of Colleges and the Association of Learning Providers.

Andy Powell, chief executive at Edge, said: "Millions of people will gain a vocational qualification this year that will be the stepping stone to a brighter future. VQ Day celebrates this achievement and the many paths to success taken by learners of all ages.”

Click here to read about how VQs have been the route to success for former student Dan Martland and current student John White.