GA degree backed by kite mark

November 9, 2001

New "graduate apprenticeships" are to be kite-marked by universities backing vocational training in higher education.

The move by 13 institutions represented on the University Vocational Awards Council (Uvac), comes in response to calls from employers and students for institutions to provide the GA with formal recognition.

The GA has been piloted over the past 18 months, supported by £5 million in government funding and evaluated by Nottingham University's centre for education and lifelong learning.

The GA was established to address growing concern over the ability of conventional diplomas and degrees to reflect a graduate's preparedness for work. It is made up of an honours degree plus selected key skills defined by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and a National Vocational Qualification.

Universities are able to deliver the key skills and sometimes the NVQ as well as the degree - a fact that champions of the GA believe should help break down the academic/vocational divide in higher education.

Uvac, which held a conference on vocational initiatives this week, has set up an accreditation committee for the GA in collaboration with employers' groups and the National Training Organisation National Council. The official launch of the kite-marked GAs is expected in January.

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