From education to employment

What a success!

Our sixth annual VQ Day took place in June and I’m delighted to say it was a huge success. Once again we had a wealth of support from across the sector and the backing from government was also hugely encouraging.

At Edge we are very proud of VQ Day and how it shines a light on the thousands of learners who achieve vocational qualifications each year. With funding cuts announced in the CSR we are heading into unsettled times in further education and so it is important that we work with our partners to create events like this to really champion technical, practical and vocational education.

Here in England we hosted all our VQ Learner and Employer of the Year winners at a parliamentary reception at which Skills Minister Matthew Hancock presented their awards. It was a brilliant evening that saw a wonderful turnout of guests including 16 MPs and representatives from an array of organisations and businesses. You can watch highlights from the event here.

As with previous years, hundreds of colleges, schools, learning providers and employers from across the UK got involved on VQ Day and voiced their support for vocational education. Many staged a ‘Have a Go’ activity, or hosted their own award ceremonies and there were showcases of everything from engineering to childcare. To see photos from events around the UK head to our flickr.

Our digital focus this year also gave individuals the opportunity to engage with us, and we’ve learners sign up to our VQ Day DigitalYearbook with some really inspiring stories. Matthew Hancock’s digital congratulatory message was also a success with colleges and learning providers sending it out to thousands of students.

It really has been a brilliant VQ Day and we couldn’t have done it without you so thank you all so much for all your help and support. Whether it was a nomination or event, everything counted, even the smallest of tweets contributed to #VQDay trending on the day itself! However, we don’t have time to dwell on our success for too long as plans begin for VQ Day 2014 which will be on Wednesday 4th June.

In between then and now we have lots of exciting Edge projects, including the brand new Edge Challenge. This is a competition we’re running with the Peter JonesEnterprise Academy and the Gazelle Colleges Group to find a young entrepreneur. It was officially launched on VQ Day and the final will take place at The Skills Show in November (of which we are proud premier sponsors, alongside City & Guilds) with our three finalists pitching their business to plans to a panel of judges. We thought theUK’s largest skills and careers event was the perfect place to announce our winner and really demonstrate the breadth of skills and determination to succeed that young people studying technical, practical and vocational programmes have, and we’re really looking forward to it!

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

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