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VQ Day recognises all forms of practical and vocational learning

More than six million vocational qualifications (VQs) were awarded in 2012, according to government statistics that were issued earlier this month to mark VQ Day.

The day – which recognises the value and status of practical and vocational learning courses – was first marked in 2008, and over the years has rewarded and lauded the efforts of people involved in all kinds of practical training, including many people involved in the construction sector.

The six million NVQs and equivalent certificates that were awarded in 2012 was a rise of more than a million on the figure for 2011. The sharp rise indicates not only the value that young people are seeing in the practical methods of training over academic methods, but also how much they are being acknowledged by employers as credible indicators of talent and commitment.

VQ Day itself was marked with its sixth annual awards ceremony, which took place at the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday, 5 June. Speaking at the event, Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, said that the day was an important way of recognising the skills and learning that will be vital to the future development of British industry.

He explained, “Vocational learning has been proven to help individuals gain better practical skills to further their careers, or even start new ones. It is great that we are able to shine a light on this success on VQ Day today.”

Veolia, the world’s leading environmental company, was named the VQ Employer of the Year, due to its commitment to boosting the skill level across its entire workforce. Veolia’s in-house training programme was judged to be outstanding in a recent Ofsted report. In the last five years alone the company has helped its employers to achieve 8,653 NVQs and more than 17,000 vocationally related qualifications.

Jan Hodges, the chief executive of the Edge Foundation, which promotes technical, practical and vocational learning, said that it is vital to acknowledge how highly valued such qualifications are.

“We recognise there are many paths to success and it is important that vocational qualifications can achieve equal weighting with other educational routes, which is why a celebration such as VQ Day is so important,” she said. “It’s great to see so much growth in the number of people taking vocational qualifications in the workplace – a trend we want to see continue. It’s also important that the contribution to vocational learning being made by so many employers is recognised and celebrated – as they are truly helping their workforce get the edge in career development.”