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Come celebrate those VQs

"Adult learning isn't just about improving basic skills to help people get jobs," is the confident statement of Gareth Philips, strategic director of EDI, one of the 3 million awarding bodies whose qualifications can be gained through colleges

"Adult learning isn't just about improving basic skills to help people get jobs," is the confident statement of Gareth Philips, strategic director of EDI, one of the 3 million awarding bodies whose qualifications can be gained through colleges

"Adult learning isn't just about improving basic skills to help people get jobs," is the confident statement of Gareth Philips, strategic director of EDI, one of the 3 million awarding bodies whose qualifications can be gained through colleges.

He may be preaching to the converted as far as our readers are concerned, but if he manages to convince ministers of the idea, then that would be very impressive.

To mark the first national Vocational Qualifications Day on July 23 he has even listed some of the more bizarre qualifications on offer. But a closer look suggests those highlighted are right up the Government's street - many of them playing strongly to that very new Labour fetish for the nanny state.

There is Control of Infection and Contamination, all about making sure nobody picks up any nasty germs in the workplace. Then there is Healthier Foods and Diets, to make sure the correct healthy ingredients are selected by restaurants and hotels. And, of course, there is the Drug and Substance Abuse Awareness qualification, which could come in handy.

Not sure that these kinds of courses are among those most at risk in the current climate.

We need a new red-letter date for our calendar: National Jam-Making Day. Come on, the Women's Institute, bring it on.

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