The Government has spelled out how it wants national agencies to spend Pounds 23 million earmarked for the development of General National Vocational Qualifications.
Tim Boswell, further and higher education minister, has called for more staff development and curriculum support to help build up the range of GNVQs on offer, and for clarification of the knowledge and understanding required to gain the qualifications.
In a speech to a Southern Science and Technology Forum conference on vocational education, held last week at Southampton University, he said the Government was determined to secure the quality of GNVQs and ensure it met the needs of both employers and higher education.
Department for Education money being made available over the next three years should be used by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications to bring teachers and GNVQ coordinators together to discuss standards and share examples of best practice.
The new Further Education Development Agency which is taking over the work of the Further Education Unit and the Staff College, will be expected to develop curriculum support materials for GNVQs to be used in schools and colleges.
Mr Boswell said he wanted conclusions on best practice and appropriate materials to be brought together in the development of teacher inservice training programmes.
In particular, he wanted significant investment over the next 12 months on support materials and training to secure better teaching and assessment of core skills in communication, numeracy and information technology, which was criticised in funding council and inspectors' reports last year.
The Government saw the GNVQ as providing a model for a higher level qualification which combined general and vocational education, Mr Boswell added. But more work was needed to ensure that GNVQ students acquired sufficient knowledge and understanding of their subject areas, as well as practical experience.
"Employers and universities need to know that the young people coming to them for work or study have more strings to their bow than the impressive array of learning and other skills that GNVQs encourage," he said.