Growthin VQs falls shy of target

June 27, 1997

THE NUMBER of vocational qualifications awarded increased by 60,000 in one year according to latest figures, but there is still a long way to go to reach national targets for 2000.

The Department for Education and Employment's statistical bulletin, published this week, shows that around one million vocational qualifications, including National Vocational Qualifications, General National Vocational Qualifications and Scottish Vocational Qualifications, were awarded in 1995/96.

This is a rise of 6 per cent on the 1994/95 total of 940,000 but a slight fall on the 1.03 million awarded in 1993/94. The rate of growth has been less than spectacular given that there were 891,000 vocational qualifications awarded in 1991/92 and 975,000 in 1992/93.

More than 4.8 million vocational awards have been made since 1991/92. Out of these 1.4 million were NVQs and SVQs. The numbers awarded in each year have increased from 152,000 in 1992/93 to 354,000 by 1995/96.

Of these 1.4 million qualifications, 804,000 were at level two which is broadly equivalent to five GCSEs at grade C or intermediate level GNVQ. Just under a quarter were foundation level one NVQs and SVQs while 13 per cent were level three, which is equivalent to two A levels or advanced GNVQ.

Those aged 19 or under gained 37 per cent of all vocational awards in 1995/96. Those aged between 20 and 24 gained 18 per cent while those over 25 gained 43 per cent. Just over half (51 per cent) of all awards were gained by men in 1995/96, though this compares with 54 per cent in 1994/95.

But despite these achievements there is still a long way to go to meet the targets set by the previous government. These called for 85 per cent of all people 19 and under to achieve NVQ levels one and two by 2000 and 60 per cent of those up to 21 achieving level three. Up to winter 1996/97 70 per cent had achieved level one while 47 per cent had achieved level three.

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