London Institute rector Sir William Stubbs has been appointed chairman of the new Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Vice chair will be Dominic Cadbury, chairman of the Confederation for British Industry's education and training affairs committee.
The QCA was created through the merger of the Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the National Council for Vocational Qualifications, as recommended by Sir Ron Dearing's review of qualifications for 16-19-year-olds. It is expected to start work in October.
A top priority for the new super-quango will be establishing a transparent national framework for all post-compulsory qualifications, with "parity of esteem" between the vocational and academic routes to higher education and employment.
Vice chancellors' fears that the new authority will impinge on academic autonomy through its development of higher level national vocational qualifications will not be assuaged by the appointment of Mr Cadbury, who told The THES he will push hard for key vocational skills at the highest levels.
The CBI, which feared that vocational-based qualifications would suffer with the end of the NCVQ, said it was "delighted" that there will be a major voice for employers.
Sir William is a former chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council.
* Nick Tate interview, page 5
* Opinion, page 9