From education to employment

Survey highlights the benefits of vocational qualifications

Figures detail the prospects of people with vocational qualifications compared to those with degrees.

A survey by YouGov has found that holders of vocational qualifications are half as likely to spend a long time looking for work compared with people who have degrees. More than a fifth of those with vocational qualifications are also more likely to feel ready for work from day one.
The research shows vocational qualifications make a big difference to career prospects, even for adults, and 35 per cent of people surveyed with degrees told how they later achieved a vocational qualification as well. Figures reveal over a quarter who took a vocational qualification received a pay rise as a direct result, which is double the 13 per cent who received an increase following an academic qualification. 21 per cent also told how their employer paid more attention to their career, compared to 11 per cent of those with a degree.
VQ Day will be held on 23 July 2008 for the first time to nationally celebrate the achievements of people who have successfully gained vocational qualifications. A report into the vocational qualifications landscape is also due to be published on the day, which will see a national event in London and regional events held around the country.
Andy Powell, CEO of Edge, the education foundation, said: “It’s clear that vocational qualifications help not just young people, but employees of all ages. From having professional achievements recognised and gaining new talents which help further a career to improving basic skills, vocational qualifications set people on the path to success. As a nation we need to realise that such qualifications are for the many, not just the disenfranchised.
“Every year millions of people across the country study for and gain a vocational qualification, leading to further vocational study or university, better jobs and enhanced skills. It amazes me that despite these clear benefits, vocational qualifications still do not enjoy the prestige of their more academic counterparts. The launch of VQ Day is just one step in starting to put this right.”
In results which reveal the extent of business investment in staff, half of respondents said their employer paid for the whole vocational course, while 19 per cent took a course which was publicly funded, and 23 per cent paid for their course themselves. The survey also revealed that most adults support vocational qualifications, and 57 per cent would encourage young people to take one.
Susan Anderson, Director of Human Resources Policy at the CBI, said: “Employers value high-quality vocational qualifications as a route to employment and it is essential that young people in particular receive clear advice on both the academic and vocational options available to them. Vocational qualifications provide the practical knowledge required for success at work and will often be delivered in a ‘hands on’ manner in the workplace. Apprenticeships, Diplomas and other vocational qualifications have an important role to play in preparing young people for the world of work, alongside GCSEs and A-levels.”

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