From education to employment

John Denham announces QCA to carry out employment consultation

The Government could soon accredit company training schemes in a move designed to reform vocational qualifications and meet employer needs.

John Denham, the Innovation, Universities and Skills Secretary made the announcement today at the CBI Skills Summit and said that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) had launched a consultation process to see how employers could engage more directly with the national qualification scheme.

John Denham said: “This Government recognises that the training that many organisations offer is of a very high standard. We want to end the outdated distinction between employers training and public qualifications. By bringing qualifications and skills closer than ever before, business, employees and the state will all benefit.

“We know that successful businesses need a skilled workforce to stay ahead, and it’s Governments job to give them the support they need to do this.

“But employers need to play their part too by making skills a top priority. Im delighted that Tesco have today joined those who have committed to developing the skills of their employees by making the Skills Pledge. Over two million employees are now covered by the Skills Pledge, and we need more to follow this example that Tesco and others have set.”

Denham said that some of the UKs biggest firms who have signed up to the Local Employment Partnerships, including McDonalds, Vodafone and Sainsburys, would have their training schemes fast-tracked for accreditation.

Shadow Innovation, Universities and Skills Secretary David Willetts commented: “Employers are fed up with providing valuable training which is not then rewarded with a suitable qualification. They have rightly called for their training to be properly recognised and it is good news if at last the Government is doing this, although it is a pity that they have to sign up to lots of other Government programmes before they can get this accreditation.

“We will keep the pressure on Ministers to deliver their promise in practice but they also need to realise that many of the deep-seated skills problems are due to issues in schools. Too many children are leaving school without the basic skills needed for employment. If we want to allow people to realise their potential and help the economy at the same time, we need more standards and rigour in the early stages of our education system.”

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