From education to employment

Wales holds first vocational results day

Thursday was Results Day for the thousands of college students across Wales who had been studying for vocational qualifications at Level 3. They will be first in line to hear whether their results will secure them a place at university this September.

Vocational Results Day puts the spotlight on the outstanding results awarded to students across Wales and congratulates them on their achievements. Vocational qualifications are particularly flexible in that they are highly relevant to the workplace and in addition, some qualifications at Level 3 (the same level as A levels) attract UCAS points and can also provide entry to university.

A number of students each year use their vocational studies as a stepping stone to higher study, sometimes triumphing against the odds.

Elen Henry, for example, is 24 and lives in Ebbw Vale but is originally from Zimbabwe. She has succeeded in achieving a Double Distinction in BTEC Pharmacy at Coleg Gwent this year despite overcoming many personal problems, including becoming responsible for bringing up her younger siblings after both her parents died within a year of each other, and speaking very little English when she first arrived in Wales.

Elen is unusual in that she has studied both a vocational and an academic course at the same time. She will receive her A-Level Chemistry result (she achieved her AS Level at grade A last year) next week. Her achievements have already secured her a place at Bath University to study Pharmacy. Elen was awarded with a fforwm-sponsored national Adult Learner of the Year Award in 2006.

Rachel Hobson jumped into a heavily male-dominated sector ““ construction. Rachel studied a BTEC National Diploma in Construction at Yale College and has been rewarded with a place at Plymouth University to study Architecture.

Daniel Hillier who is now aged 20, failed to get any good GCSEs at school, but has just completed his second year of a university degree in Product Design. He entered university with a National Certificate in Maintenance Engineering, having worked his way up the ladder at Barry College.

Emyr Thomas, aged 18 from Pontarddulais near Swansea, achieved 12 GCSEs ““ 10 of which were A or A* grades. He gained distinctions throughout in his National Diploma in Information Technology at Coleg Sir Gâr. He was offered a place at all four of his preferred universities, and two of the universities offered him a scholarship

They have all now earned a well-deserved rest. And given that Vocational Results Day takes place one week before A Levels Results Day, it means that students who have studied vocational courses and who are hoping to go to university will be able to secure their future early and relax for the remainder of the summer.

Welsh Assembly Government Deputy Minister John Griffiths AM, congratulating a number of vocational students in person today, said: “I am delighted to be able to recognise and celebrate the achievements of vocational students across the country today.

“Wales ““ and the UK as a whole ““ desperately needs more highly skilled people to be able to compete in an increasingly global economy. Our future prosperity and quality of life are at stake.

“These students are demonstrating that they are aiming for highly professional careers and that their vocational qualifications, with their blend of both academic and practical skills, have set them up well for a bright future.”

Together with Wales” further education colleges, fforwm – the association of colleges in Wales, has co-ordinated this year’s Vocational Results Day: the first Vocational Results Day for vocational qualifications across the UK.

Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Jane Hutt, welcoming the first vocational results day across the UK, said: “I am extremely pleased that we in Wales are the first to hold a vocational results day across the UK. The event will give students who have pursued vocational qualifications a standalone day to celebrate their success and hard work. I wish them all the best for the future and hope the idea of a vocational results day embeds itself over the coming years.”

Chief Executive of fforwm, John Graystone, said: “Further education colleges in Wales have felt for many years that students who achieve outstanding results in their vocational qualifications do not get the public recognition they deserve because there has never been a “Vocational Results Day” in the same way as there is an “A Level Results Day”. This year, the colleges and key awarding bodies have agreed to publish the results for vocational qualifications on one day: 9 August 2007.

“I hope that Vocational Results Day will gain prominence in future years, and that the other home nations will follow suit.”

Chris Mitchell

Related Articles