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Vocational qualifications key to Wales’ future economic prosperity

Vocational qualifications are set to play a pivotal role in helping the Welsh Government achieve its vision of developing a vibrant and prosperous economy fuelled by a highly skilled, world class workforce.

For decades, academic qualifications have hogged the limelight when teenagers consider career paths in school, but a significant change is underway. Politicians and policymakers now accept that vocational qualifications are of key importance to the economy, employers and individuals in Wales.

Vocational qualifications deliver the trained, talented employees businesses are crying out for and ensure that young people have the skills needed to succeed in education and work.

Here in Wales, there is evidence that employers view vocational qualifications positively, noting that they can lead to better business performance, can be adapted to business needs, can improve staff retention, provide value for money and cover all skills needed by companies.

Research has shown that Welsh employers are significantly more likely – 74% compared to a UK average of 65% – to have trained their staff at Level 3 or above, which indicates that they are training staff to a higher level than they were previously.

They rate relevant work experience (64%) and vocational qualifications (48%) to be of greatest value when recruiting.

A vocational qualification is a recognised award designed to provide learners with the knowledge, skills and competence directly relevant to their work or specific job role. For example, qualifications can range from an Entry Level certificate in Child Development to a Level 8 Diploma in Direction and Leadership.

Research has shown that high quality vocational qualifications enhance life and work chances and help to give individuals of all ages an advantage, whether that’s within their current or future careers or as a platform for further or higher education.

It has long been argued by tutors and trainers who deliver vocational qualifications that they deserve the same accolades and level of recognition that academic qualifications receive.

That’s why Wales holds an annual Vocational Qualification (VQ) Day with VQ Awards every spring to recognise and celebrate the achievements of learners, employers and trainers.

Demonstrating the range of vocational qualifications available in Wales, this year’s VQ Awards finalists represented precision engineering, further education, automotive manufacturing, hair and beauty, civil engineering, local authority project management, work-based learning, the television and media industry, engineering design, child care, housing and kitchen and bathroom design.

The awards are organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru / CollegesWales and Qualifications Wales.

To ensure that the Welsh economy continues to grow, the Welsh Government is working closely with employers, training providers and learners to invest in the right skills in priority sectors to equip the country with a world class workforce.

For more information about vocational qualifications, visit https://www.ntfw.org/how-do-i-get-involved/  or http://colegaucymru.ac.uk/localcontent.php?ContentID=3