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Employers sign up to embed vocational qualifications into their business strategy

Some of the UK’s largest employers have joined a nationwide campaign to embed vocational qualifications (VQs) and learning into the future of British businesses.

In recognising the importance of VQs to the future economy, organisations including BAE Systems, Cisco, The De Vere Academy, Mitchells & Butlers, EDF Energy Whitbread and Astra Zeneca have signed a 12 month commitment to encourage and support vocational learning in the local community.

The commitment comes as UK employers joined a debate at Westminster Kingsway College, London to celebrate the fourth annual VQ Day. They came together to discuss how vocational education can be ingrained into business and how perceptions of vocational qualifications can continue to be improved.

The discussion was chaired by Lord Baker, chairman of Edge and the panellists were Nick Bradley, group director of City & Guilds, Kim Caplin, vice principal 14-19 Pathways at Westminster Kingsway College, Alex Khan, MD, training and education at Babcock International Group and Sue Husband, education manager at McDonalds. The employer signatories have committed to ensuring that at least one of the following is undertaken in the next 12 months.

  • To provide project and/or coursework materials to local schools/colleges/training providers
  • To offer work placements to 16-18 year olds
  • To give employees an opportunity to talk at a local school/college/learning provider and offer mentoring, deliver a workshop or provide advice on interview techniques
  • To host a breakfast meeting with local schools/colleges/learning providers and discuss working relationships and the needs of the local market

These organisations have signed-up to the VQ Day business commitment, as they recognise VQs are not only core to ensuring young people have the necessary skills to succeed, but also helping them recruit individuals with the right skills and training.

Peter Mitchell, interim CEO of Edge, commented: "Vocational qualifications have never been more important to the economy; they deliver trained, talented employees and ensure young people have the skills needed to succeed in education and work. Commitment from UK employers is vital for those studying VQs and we welcome these organisations' undertaking to put greater focus on vocational education in the next 12 months."

VQ Day is led by Edge, the independent education foundation, in conjunction with the vocational qualifications community. Now in its fourth year, it is a national celebration of vocational qualifications for students, teachers and employers and recognises the talented and skilled people in the UK who are awarded VQs.