Since its launch by Edge in 2008, VQ Day has continued to recognise and celebrate high quality vocational achievements and qualifications, and there has been a lot to celebrate.
Vocational qualifications have never been more important to the economy and the individual; they deliver the trained, talented employees that businesses are crying out for and ensure young people have the skills needed to succeed in education and work. Each year VQ Day secures cross party support, evidencing the rising significance of technical, practical and vocational learning on the political agenda.
Those of us involved in the field of vocational education – whether as teachers, learners, employers or sector partners – know only too well how essential high quality vocational qualifications are to UK society, providing young people with the skills, experience, motivation and inspiration to get ahead. VQs can lead to further study, greater job prospects, enhanced skills and knowledge, higher pay, as well as the motivation and inspiration to help drive forward the UK economy.
VQ Day is also a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all those who are involved in this sector, whilst showcasing vocational excellence. It is a great chance to bring the community together; not only involving the students and teachers who attend schools or colleges, but also employers, parents and prospective students.
Holding an event is a great way to champion vocational learners and demonstrate your commitment to technical, practical and vocational learning. Events provide a focus for VQ Day celebrations and spread the positive messages about VQs and vocational learning. It is also a good way for promoting college courses to potential audiences.
VQ Day 2011 was a great success; over 300 schools, colleges and work-based providers got involved in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We were overwhelmed by the amount of support and had an amazing selection of nominees for the VQ Learner of the Year Awards, demonstrating the outstanding skill, achievement and commitment of vocational learners in all disciplines. We want the number of colleges involved this year to be even greater and the events organised to be even bigger and better.
In 2012 there are a number of ways that schools, colleges and organisations can help support VQ Day:
We look forward to hearing about events at colleges around the UK and Northern Ireland and to finding out how students, colleges and learning providers are celebrating vocational achievement.
Jan Hodges is chief executive of Edge, the independent education foundation dedicated to raising the status of technical, practical and vocational learning