Elizabeth Bonfield, Head of Business Development at EAL (EMTA Awards Limited), has called for training providers, employers and the Government to work together to deliver the Government’s skills strategy, which was published last week.

Speaking after the Strategic Issues Meeting, where she was a keynote speaker, Bonfield said: “In the current climate, we’re only going to succeed if we work together. The Government has highlighted the need for a balanced economy and that is only going to come from achieving parity between vocational and academic training. For too long, vocational training has been seen as a second class option to university, but we need to place those who are academically talented and those who are skilled on an equal plane if we are to achieve economic success.

“Vocational training embodies the values which are dear to the Government’s skills strategy. Vocational training is fair, as it is available to everyone, and it gives the learner the responsibility and the freedom to determine their own destiny – whether they rise through the ranks to the boardroom or stay on the shop floor.”

One key issue discussed at the Strategic Issues Meeting was the proposed removal of Performing Engineering Operations Level 2 from the Advanced Apprenticeship framework. Bonfield commented: “Removing this qualification could have serious consequences, both financially and in terms of health and safety as it teaches apprentices the basic skills and competencies needed to function in the workplace. It’s important that they learn to walk before they run, and this component of the training programme is a vital one.”

The Strategic Issues Meeting, one of three conferences sponsored by EAL, was attended by key figures from the training sector. The organisers brought together independent training providers, colleges and decision makers in education and training with the aim of determining the best means of moving the sector forward at a time when vocational training has never been more high profile. Speakers from the Skills Funding Agency, National Apprenticeship Service, GTA England, Enginuity , NSAM and the Yorkshire and Humberside ATA took to the floor to discuss the latest news and answer questions. The QCF transition, Apprenticeship Frameworks and funding were highly debated topics and representative of the concerns felt throughout the sector at a challenging time.

EAL (EMTA Awards Limited) is a leading UK Awarding Organisation for vocational qualifications in the Engineering, Manufacturing and Building Services Engineering Sectors. With more than 40 years experience, EAL’s qualifications are recognised as representing the highest standard of practical achievement. For more information, visit the website at: www.eal.org.uk.

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