From education to employment

Ready for VQ Day 2013

February saw the launch of our 6th annual VQ Day which is due to take place this year on Wednesday 5th June. As with the previous five campaigns, this is an opportunity to celebrate vocational achievement and to give learners who have received vocational qualifications the recognition they deserve. While A-levels and GCSEs both have their respective results days in August, vocational qualifications can be achieved throughout the year and so VQ Day is about setting aside a day for vocational learners to celebrate their achievements.

This year, in addition to the Learner of the Year Awards, we have introduced a VQ Employer of the Year Award to recognise the huge contribution so many UK employers make to vocational learning. Without employers taking on apprentices, encouraging their workforce to undertake vocational courses and assisting with course design and sponsorship we wouldn’t be celebrating so much success. Employers can be nominated or nominate themselves for the award and there will be two winners, one an SME and one a larger firm, for each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Nominations for VQ Learner of the Year and VQ Employer of the Year awards are now open and forms are available to download. While nominations have been flooding in, there are many other ways to get involved. Holding an event is an excellent way to promote vocational learning and showcase the skills and talents of learners to the local community, parents and potential students. Last year over 400 schools, colleges and work-based providers got involved across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To find out more about holding an event and for more ideas on how to support VQ Day 2013 download the Action Pack.

With huge skill gaps emerging in many industries in the UK, from engineering to computer game design, it has never been so important for us as a society, to understand that there are many paths to success. Technical, practical and vocational learning need to be appreciated for the value that they can bring to both individuals, businesses and to society as a whole so that we can begin to plug those skills gaps and drive the economy forward. VQ Day is a huge step on the journey towards seeking parity for vocational education alongside more academic routes.

Jan Hodges is chief executive of Edge, the independent education foundation dedicated to raising the status of technical, practical and vocational learning

For any further information on VQ Day, nominations or how to get involved you can go to email the team on [email protected] or call 02070256500

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