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November 6, 2013

Boost Vocational Education, Say Employers

Academic qualifications may be falling out of fashion with leading employers, a survey has found.

Research carried out by the Edge Foundation, an independent education charity and champion of vocational training, has shown that 72% of employers view vocational qualifications (VQs) as essential for preparing young people for the workplace.

And more than half (53%) of the 1000 small, medium and large businesses surveyed said VQs are more valuable than traditional academic qualifications.

An overwhelming majority (84%) felt that more work needs to be done to make young people aware of the training options available in their chosen career and 84% said it is important for young people to gain work experience while still at school.

CEO of the Edge Foundation Jan Hodges, said: “We already know how important high quality vocational education is, but it is refreshing to hear how highly employers rate it. We have skills gaps emerging in many sectors within the UK and it is crucial that young people are given the right training and encouragement to be able to fill these gaps.”

Chris Jones, CEO and Director General at City & Guilds, for whom the survey was carried out, added:

“In recent years, society has placed too much emphasis on academia. But as the research shows, the current system is failing young people and not preparing them for the world of work.

“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.”

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