QUALIFICATIONS. Tomorrow's university students could be taking degree standard vocational qualifications, having completed a predominantly vocational education at school. Government proposals for NVQ level 4 and 5 courses - broadly equivalent to a first degree and a masters degree respectively - were unveiled this year.
Already, around 50 universities offer NVQs, mainly in management. This development was partly to meet employers need for competency in core skills.
The Confederation of British Industry introduced the idea of "a skills passport" in order to boost the flagging "skills revolution" launched in the late 1980s. Other employers, supported by universities like Sheffield Hallam and Brunel, drew up plans for a Mensa-style employability examination dubbed "the nous test". This would be taken in conjunction with a conventional degree course.