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Earnings boost from qualifications – NVQs lose out due to employer bias, says TrainingZONE member


A recent article in the Guardian reported on research from the Centre for Economics in Education which found that gaining an NVQ level 1 or 2 gave a far smaller earnings boost than that of other qualifications.

TrainingZONE member George Edwards responded to the paper with the following comments on the current state of NVQs:

Dear Sir,

Your report "Cash benefits" (page 41, 11th July) was significant indeed to ministers, who you felt would welcome the DfEE commissioned study into qualifications and earnings.

After more than a decade of dogged promotion of NVQs, the only mention of the government's flagship qualification structure in your piece was a linkage to "far smaller positive earnings".

Traditional "Vocational Qualifications", such as Certificates and Diplomas, are clearly more likely to enhance earnings. As the majority of these are funded by employers rather than learners, it is apparent that employers prefer existing qualifications and their structure.

This should in fact alarm ministers, and those at present engaged in the process of drawing up a mandatory National Qualifications Framework which is largely based on the NVQ model.

We have recently been told that, despite all the work the TECs and other agencies have done to promote skills development through the vehicle of NVQs, there is now a substantial national shortfall. It is unlikely that increasing regulation, more restrictive funding criteria, and the shotgun marriage of respected vocational qualifications to an NVQ driven framework, will greatly improve this situation.

Yours sincerely

George Edwards

George Edwards FISM FRSA
Development Director
ISM - The Institute for Supervision and Management
Stowe House
Lichfield WS13 6TJ


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