VQ system must help people get into and progress at work

8 November 2013

Responding to the publication of the Whitehead Review of Vocational Skills today, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“It’s great that vocational skills have been given this level of attention by Nigel Whitehead’s Review. We applaud this attempt to simplify and improve what is an extremely complex system. This report is a helpful contribution to the debate about what works and what doesn’t, to help ensure vocational qualifications operate effectively within the broader funding and regulatory systems.

“We are particularly pleased that the review recommends that awarding organisations and training providers should engage actively with employers, that there should be a single point of access to the different qualifications databases and that the UK Commission for Employment and Skills should work with employers to agree the future model for occupational standards.

“We also absolutely agree that Ofqual, Ofsted and the Skills Funding Agency should ensure that arrangements for regulation, inspection and funding provide appropriate incentives and do not inhibit training providers and awarding organisations from using technologyin the delivery and assessment of vocational qualifications.

“All of these proposals will help ensure that vocational qualifications are better suited to and understood by people and by employers. A key test of a good vocational qualification system is whether people trust the qualifications to help them get into work and to progress at work.

“However, we have concerns about the proposal to give awarding organisations the option of moving away from unit-based qualifications. We know that unit-based delivery offers many advantages to both employers and employees as demonstrated through NIACE’s evaluation of the unit trials and our research in support of the unit offer for unemployed people.”