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Vocational skills 'more valuable', say employers

According to a recent study, employers place greater value on vocational skills than academic qualifications.

The study, carried out by the Edge Foundation and City & Guilds, surveyed more than 1,000 businesses to identify their attitude towards vocational qualifications compared to academic qualifications.

The organisations, which promote and develop vocational training programmes for a number of sectors, found that almost three quarters of those surveyed see vocational qualifications as essential in the improvement of skills in young people.

Those surveyed also found vocational qualifications an effective means of preparing young people for work, with more than half of the businesses rating the qualifications as more valuable.

Furthermore, the study found that employers feel more young people need to be informed of the options available to them as they try to progress in their chosen career.

Chris Jones, CEO of City & Guilds, believes that the current system is not properly preparing young people for the world of work.

He said: "Employers are crying out for young people who have the right skills to add value to their business. Vocational qualifications can provide these skills, but how many people know about them. Careers advice provision in schools is limited, uninspiring and often purely focused on university."

Edge Foundation CEO Jan Hodges took Mr Jones comments further, stating that it is crucial to train young people to fill the many skills gaps that are emerging within the UK.

Further results from the study also highlight the support that UK businesses have for vocational qualifications. For example, the report shows that 78 per cent of those surveyed agree that young people who prefer practical learning should be offered a better alternative to A-levels, while 83 per cent say that young people need better work experience placements opportunities while they are till studying at school.