Merger at the ministry

July 21, 1995

The merger of the Employment Department with the Department for Education has raised issues and unearthed prejudices.

As Geoffrey Holland writes "unless the two are integrated, the change is not worth making". This implies that GNVQs, NVQs and degree courses will form one structure with a variety of possible routes through it. The division between education and training will be replaced by a concept of person-centred learning.This is to be welcomed as part of a more egalitarian society, and because the notion that, as it were, gentlefolk do not engage in trade, is disabling to industry.

Integration of education and training is particularly appropriate for the arts and entertainment industry but there remain some problems and challenges. The GNVQ in art and design tends to be mechanistic and banal. The provision of training in an industry in which most practitioners are either self-employed or work in very small organisations will need support, both for individuals to undertake training and organisations to provide it. The challenge for universities is: how will they form partnerships and consortia with organisations in the arts and entertainment industry, using the expertise in assessment of education, and in making and presenting art and entertainment of the industry, to deliver NVQs alongside courses? For, if the integration is to be socially beneficial, such consortia will be vital.

Malcolm Miles Arts and Entertainment Training Council

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