More than a third of employers value vocational and academic qualifications equally, according to a new report to be published next month. The annual CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2015, also found that three-quarters of businesses either prefer young recruits to have both academic and vocational qualifications or value both without a particular preference.
The figures reveal that almost half of businesses believe the introduction of vocational A-Levels – using the well understood A-Level brand in subject areas like graphic design, construction or engineering – would help to build their trust in them.
Although only one in five businesses are looking for recruits with academic qualifications alone, 45 per cent would like to see the vocational qualifications system simplified, and about a third see a strong case for making them more rigorous. According to the CBI/Pearson survey, 31 per cent would like to see employer engagement increased when it comes to designing vocational qualifications.
“Vocational qualifications are now considered just as important to businesses as academic ones," said John Cridland, director-general of business lobby organisation the CBI. “We need to end the perception that vocational qualifications are second best – good enough for other people’s children, but not our own. Businesses want qualifications that have real currency in the labour market and equip young people with the knowledge, skills and behaviours that match business needs. The best vocational qualifications do this.”