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New Qualifications Framework Promises to Cut Confusion

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A brand new framework for all qualifications - to include employer-led training - is being put to public consultation.

The Qualifications and Curriculums Authority (QCA) says its framework would mean:
* A clear structure for recognising learning and qualifications
* Smaller packages of learning units that can be accumulated and transferred easily between qualifications and awarding bodies
* The potential for employers to gain recognition for in-house training programmes
* A distinctive suite of qualifications which denote competence in specific occupations
* Levels and ‘credits’ which define the standard and the volume of learning
* Standard definitions of terms such as ‘award’, ‘certificate’ and ‘diploma’.

Launching the consultation Ken Boston, chief executive of QCA, pointed to the authority's own research.

“We know from research that a large majority of people feel that training at work would be much more valuable if it were recognised outside their organisation, and that they would be happy to do the training if they could do it at their own pace," he said.

"Whether they complete a short employer-led training course, or decide to pursue a professional qualification that may take a number of years, or simply study a subject that happens to interest them, by banking small units of learning they can accumulate credit towards other qualifications and be sure that under this framework their achievement will be recognised and understood."

Mark Haysom, chief executive of the Learning and Skills Council, welcomed the consultation. He said that millions of people were achieving thousands of different qualification and needed clarity on what their certificates really mean.

"This is very exciting, but also very challenging; to make it work, we need a framework, which is universally agreed," he added. "That means working closely with everyone involved in post-16 education and training to make the most of this opportunity."

The consultation runs until the end of February 2005. Framework for Achievement is on the QCA website at www.qca.org.uk/ffa.

Research commissioned by QCA earlier this month found:
* 77% of respondents felt that training at work would be much more valuable if it were recognised outside of their employer or company.
* 70% of respondents agreed that they would be happy to do the training if they could do it at their own pace and not have to commit to a bigger study programme.
* 61% of respondents agreed that if they knew more about training and qualifications they would be more likely to get into training.
* Over three quarters of respondents knew little or nothing about the vocational qualification system.

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