From education to employment

Vocational Results Day: Sector Response

Vocational Results Day

Every year, students studying vocational qualifications receive their results. Today is Results Day 2022! Today’s results day includes students who sat A and AS levels, level 3 vocational and technical qualifications (VTQ Results day), and for the first time ever – T Levels – paving the way for pupils’ next steps to university, further training or the world of work.

Today, approximately 200,000 students will receive the results for their Level 3 BTEC, across subjects including Health and Social Care, IT and Computing and Engineering, according to the qualification’s awarding body, Pearson. This year’s cohort join 6 million learners from the last decade – one in five UK working-age adults – who have achieved one or more BTECs.  

Students were awarded grades ranging from a ‘Starred Distinction’ to a ‘Pass’. They will now progress into higher or further education, apprenticeships or full-time employment, often in key industries that suffer from drastic shortages of skilled, ambitious workers. This year around:

  • 25,000 learners will have completed a Level 3 BTEC in Applied Science
  • 25,000 in Health and Social Care
  • 34,000 in Business
  • 17,000 in IT and Computing
  • 9,000 in Engineering
  • 2,500 in Construction

As with A levels, vocational qualifications returned to the pre-pandemic assessment and grading process this year.  Adaptations were made under guidance from the DfE and Ofqual, to reflect the challenges and disruption to education since 2020 and provide a safety net for this cohort.

As you will no doubt know, BTECs are a rigorous, future-focused educational programme designed hand-in-glove with employers to equip learners of all ages with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed in a modern, skills-based economy. With skill shortages across sectors like healthcare and construction, the BTEC allows learners a simple transition into full-time jobs, apprenticeships or higher education in the knowledge they have been equipped to succeed.

This year is also the first in which BTEC Esports students receive their results, uniquely positioning them to satisfy demand for jobs in the fast-growing industry that is expected to generate global revenues of over $1.5bn by the end of next year. 

For vocational and technical qualifications (including T Levels):

  • The number of internal assessments were reduced.
  • Hours of work experience needed were reduced and flexibilities so T Level were introduced.
  • Adaptations to the delivery of assessments, if appropriate.
  • Grades will be based on outcomes from a range of assessments.

Sector Response

Bill Watkin, Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said:

“This year’s results in both A Levels and BTECs show how well students managed to focus on their learning and their preparations for examinations in spite of the Covid challenges they faced. This cohort of young people had lost significant learning time over the last two years, they had no prior experience of sitting public exams, and they had to contend with a number of modifications and adaptations on their journey. The results also reflect the invaluable role played by their teachers, who worked tirelessly throughout the worst of the pandemic to support students in both their learning and their welfare, and who maintained a relentless focus on the highest standards, against the backdrop of a conscious decision by the regulators to make sure that this year’s grades were lower than last year’s. In sixth form colleges there are remarkable success stories all around the country that we should celebrate and that should see greater numbers than ever reaching their first-choice university or employment destinations.”

Freya Thomas Monk, Senior Vice President for Vocational Qualifications and Training at Pearson, said:

Vocational students across the country can be enormously proud of their results. I would like to congratulate them, and those who have supported them, on their achievements today.  Whatever their next step entails – be it an apprenticeship, full-time employment or university – they are set up for success and should feel tremendously deserving of the recognition they are receiving today.”

Beatrice Merrick, CEO, Early Education said:

“Congratulations to everyone getting their BTEC results today who is working towards a career in the early childhood education and care. You’ll be joining a dedicated professional community of early years educators who have an amazing impact on children’s lives. Good luck with your next steps!”

Sarah Noble, Head of Early Engagement and Enrolment, RICS said

“Congratulations to all BTEC learners in Construction receiving their results today. BTECs give a solid foundation to start your career in the Construction industry. Not only are they a great route to surveying degrees and degree apprenticeships but they also help meet the growing need for more surveyors. The next gen is passionate about solving the world’s biggest problems and a BTEC will strengthen the likelihood of accessing careers such as surveying that will put them in a position to lead on this. The RICS wishes all BTEC learners the best on this exciting day!”

Chris Lewis, Business Partnership Manager, EngineeringUK said

“Congratulations to all learners receiving their BTEC results today! Employers are always looking for new talent with right knowledge and skills and BTEC learners inherently bring the combination of soft skills and the technical and practical skills needed to build a successful career in the engineering industry.”

Kalam Neale, Head of Education, British Esports comments

“I’d like to say a huge congratulations to all certificating students who have received their results for the 2021-2022 academic year. The last few years have been difficult, especially in education. Your perseverance, resilience and dedication to your academic studies and personal development should not be underestimated. You should be extremely proud of the knowledge, skills, behaviours and experiences that you have developed through your esports studies.   Wishing you the best of luck as you take your next steps into the variety of emerging careers within esports and the associated industries. I look forward to seeing your success stories as you pave the way for future generations.”

Robert West, Head of Education and Skills policy, CBI said:

“We’d like to congratulate those receiving their BTEC results today and wish all who completed their qualifications the best of luck in their future careers.

“It’s great to see the start of a pipeline that will hopefully lead to successful careers in areas such as business, health, and the arts.”

About the importance of vocational education, Robert said:

“Vocational education provides students with skills directly related to the world of work. Therefore, our members highly value this opportunity for people to learn transferable creative and personal development skills, as well as practical skills and activities specific to a chosen job role.”

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“Our best wishes to all students who are collecting results on Thursday. It is important to bear in mind that this cohort has been more disrupted than any set of students since the second world war. They have spent the past two-and-a-half years under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic which has had a massively disruptive impact on their learning.

“Their teachers have worked very hard to support them during this time, and adaptations were also made to this year’s exams to try to mitigate the learning disruption in as much as this is possible, including pitching grading standards at a midway point between those of last year and those of 2019 when exams were last taken.

“However, it remains the case that the impact on learning and results is likely to be uneven depending on how different schools, colleges and communities have been affected.

“This is why it is so important to focus on supporting students to progress to the next stage of their lives, in higher education or work-based training, rather than to fixate too heavily on distinctions between grades both within this year’s cohort and compared to other years, particularly as this year’s grading standards are different from those both during and before the pandemic.

“It is also important to bear in mind that many young people will tomorrow collect results not only in A-levels but in excellent vocational and technical qualifications such as BTEC Nationals and Cambridge Technicals, as well as the first cohort of students to graduate with T-levels.

“These are superb achievements which need to be celebrated just as much as A-level attainment, and it is of vital importance that the government maintains this breadth of qualification choice as it brings more T-levels on stream rather than removing other vocational qualifications which are immensely popular.

“Much has been written over the past few days about pressure on university places. It is likely that there has been more competition for the most selective universities and courses but this is because of a rise in the number of 18-year-olds and has nothing to do with adjustments in grading standards.

“Universities made their offers with all these factors in mind and where students miss places on their first-choice courses there will be many other options available. We would urge students in this situation not to panic and to talk to their school or college where their teachers are very experienced in providing advice and support.

“A-level entries are up 4.2% this year – partly because of the increase in the 18-year-old cohort – and it is great to see subjects such as psychology and sociology doing so well with big rises of 11.6% and 9.5% respectively.

“However, we have to express severe concern about the continuing decline in English entries at A-level with English Literature down 8.9% this year. It should be perfectly clear to the government that its reforms to GCSE English Literature are obviously putting students off the subject because of the grind of memorising large amounts of traditional texts.

“Literature is a vital part not only of our cultural past, but of our diverse cultural present, and it should be a living, breathing subject which inspires and empowers young people. The GCSE specification needs to be urgently reviewed and action taken to stop the spiral of decline we are seeing at A-level.”

Professor John Latham CBE, Coventry University Vice-Chancellor:

“After many months of hard work, students receiving their A-Level and BTEC results can rightly be extremely proud of what they have achieved. As we emerge from a period in which the education sector has suffered significant disruption due to the global pandemic, young people should be congratulated for their resilience and determination.

“I would like to wish students good luck, whether they decide to move onto university, an apprenticeship or into the world of work – they can face the future with an optimism that anything is possible.

“As with every results day, not everyone will have gained the grades they were hoping for but that does not close the door to amazing opportunities to move into higher education.

“Our Clearing team is here to help – they can explain what options are available and talk students through the process. At Coventry University we believe high-quality education should be available to all who can benefit from it and we have designed our admissions process to be as flexible as possible to give those from all backgrounds the chance to thrive at a vibrant, forward-looking university. “We are a truly global university, collaborating with companies, organisations and higher education institutions in numerous countries, offering students fantastic opportunities right across the world.”

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