Vocational qualifications are best, say employers

23rd July 2010 at 01:00
Most employers believe that hiring students with vocational qualifications is better than taking on university graduates, according to a survey by City and Guilds.

The organisation's report, The Skills Economy, asked 1,200 employers in 26 industries about their attitudes to vocational education in business, and found that companies rated it more highly than purely academic studies.

More than half of those surveyed valued vocationally qualified staff more highly than graduates without vocational qualifications, because they have the experience and skills to contribute from day one.

Nine out of ten employers also said vocationally-qualified staff were vital for their business success, and 63 per cent said skills training would play an important role in economic recovery.

Chris Jones, director general of City and Guilds, said: "Our research reveals the extent to which UK plc recognises the vital importance of skills through vocational learning for the country's future economic prosperity and global competitiveness.

"Vocational qualifications will become even more relevant to employers' skill needs and the changing face of UK industry, as well as being more flexible and transparent for learners' career progression."

But conflicting responses about progression into management suggest employers may have relatively low expectations for apprentices. More than half believed that a "high proportion" of apprentices go on to management positions in their companies.

Asked to estimate the figure, however, 8 per cent said none were promoted to managers, and a further 42 per cent said less than a fifth of apprentices went on to senior roles.

More than half of employers also agreed that vocational qualifications are under-valued, rising to nearly two-thirds among businesses with experience of recruiting students from vocational courses.

Employers also want their industries to agree on a single, standard qualification, with six out of ten saying their business would benefit.


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