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Business welcomes new high in vocational qualifications

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The total number of vocational qualifications awarded last year hit a record 3.6 million mark, according to new research.

Edge, the educational foundation, said that its study showed an increase of 11 per cent in the qualifications awarded compared with the previous year.

One area of particularly strong performance was among the under-16s, increasing numbers of whom are now gaining vocational qualifications while at school.

Some 322,000 such qualifications were achieved, double the total for the previous year.

The research also found that vocational qualifications are increasingly being recognised for university entrance. About 50 per cent of people with vocational qualifications progress to higher education, and six of the top ten subject areas in higher education are vocationally-related disciplines.

Andy Powell, the chief executive of Edge, said: “In the space of just a year the vocational landscape has changed quite dramatically. Young people across the country are being given greater access than ever to vocational learning opportunities and increased acceptance of VQs at the higher education level.”

The findings of the study were welcomed by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Kevin Hoctor, senior policy adviser at the BCC, said: “Businesses have been crying out for more people to get vocational skills so this is good news.

“Arming British people with the skills required to compete in the global economy is one of the most important challenges facing the government and industry today, particularly in the face of increasing competition from growing economies such as India and China, and the higher productivity levels of our closest competitors in France, Germany and the USA.”