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  • “To raise the bar of vocational education, support the employer” says Ann Watson, managing director of specialist awarding organisation, EAL

Responding to the publication of Review of Vocational Education – The Wolf Report (3 March, 2011), Ann Watson comments:

“I fully support the findings of Professor Wolf’s Review of Vocational Education – qualifications will only lead to long-term career opportunities if they incorporate an element of work-based experience and are more closely tailored to the needs of industry. Training should not be about getting bums on seats but preparing learners to make a valuable contribution once in the workplace.

“I especially welcome Professor Wolf’s view that employers taking on 16-18 year old apprentices should be eligible for payments; worthwhile investment in an apprentice is a big consideration for employers, particularly in these times when the cost of running a business seems to be risings with little material return or gain. For too long now employers have been paid lip service, with no financial incentive or reward for their input into training – this must change.  I would, however, also like to see employers incentivised to take on the 19 plus age group, many of which are desperately seeking support to start their careers.  With youth unemployment pushing the one million mark, the Government cannot afford to allow the UK’s economy to rest with the training of 16-18 year olds only.

“I am heartened by Professor Wolf’s recognition and support of the NVQ level 3 as a target standard of attainment. The vocational route doesn’t hinder alternative careers, especially when we consider sectors such as engineering, where transferable skills obtained in maths, science and management are core components. Look to any role within the manufacturing industry and you’ll find a range of skills being developed which only strengthen their employability.  Understanding this is crucial if vocational education is to be seen as a credible option for young people, and vital in securing a skilled workforce.”



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