Ofqual survey: How FE qualifications are perceived

Only a quarter of employers report that they have either a 'very good' or 'quite good' understanding of functional skills qualifications
1st July 2020, 10:22am

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Ofqual survey: How FE qualifications are perceived

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/ofqual-survey-how-fe-qualifications-are-perceived
Only Half Of Employers Value Vocational & Technical Qualifications, A New Survey Has Shown

Only half of employers value technical and vocational qualifications (VTQs), a new survey by Ofqual has shown.

This comes as FE sector leaders have repeatedly stressed the importance of these qualifications to help the economy recover from the Covid-19 crisis. Yesterday, the prime minister promised every young person the opportunity of an apprenticeship or in-work placement. 

The survey by Ofqual, which focused on the perception of vocational and technical qualifications by employers, providers and learners and undertaken by YouGov, was conducted between 20 January and 4 March 2020. 


News: Young people to get 'opportunity guarantee'

Background: All GCSEs and A levels to be offered this autumn

More: Halfon says schools should be given apprenticeship targets


Valuing vocational and technical qualifications 

According to the survey, 46 per cent of employers said that they value VTQs. However, that proportion was significantly higher among learners and providers, at 70 per cent and 88 per cent, respectively. 

Functional skills 

Just over a quarter of employers (26 per cent) reported that they have either a "very good" or "quite good" understanding of functional skills qualifications (FSQs). Of those with at least some understanding of these qualifications, a third (34 per cent) agreed that their organisation valued them. Medium-sized and large employers were more likely than smaller employers to agree that their organisation values functional skills. 

Learners were most likely to state that a benefit of undertaking FSQs was having better job prospects in the longer term (24 per cent). Being more confident in English and maths and able to progress to higher-level qualifications (both 22 per cent) were also seen as benefits.  

Apprenticeships

The majority of providers (84 per cent), learners (81 per cent) and employers (74 per cent) agreed that apprenticeships were a good preparation for work

The three most commonly stated reasons why learners decided to take an apprenticeship were to learn new skills on the job (40 per cent), to progress in their current job (30 per cent) or to find a job or a better job (30 per cent).

Three in five providers said they had "very good" or "quite good" understanding of end-point assessments (EPAs), with two-thirds confirming they knew the difference between apprenticeship frameworks and the new apprenticeship standards. 

Around 8 in 10 providers were aware that EPAs are specific to apprenticeship standards.

Training leading to qualification

For those in entry-level and admin roles, a quarter (25 per cent) of employers reported that all or most training leads to a qualification, with similar numbers reporting this for skilled and supervisory roles (31 per cent) and professional and managerial roles (29 per cent).

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