Employers Call for Increased Support for Vocational Education and Training

January 6th, 2014 No Comments Other

Employers would like to see more support for vocational education and training, according to a recent survey by qualification provider City and Guild, and skills charity Edge Foundation.

The survey, which included more than 1000 recruitment managers from small, medium and large businesses in various sectors, found that 72% view vocational qualifications as essential for preparing young people for work.

Another 60% of the employers questioned said they would like the government to do more to support skills education, while more than half said they valued vocational qualifications in prospective employees above academic attainment.

A large majority of respondents also felt that more emphasis should be placed on work experience while young people are still in school.

Edge Foundation’s CEO Jan Hodges noted that it was refreshing to hear how highly employers rated vocational education.

“We already know how important high quality vocational education is, but it is refreshing to hear how highly employers rate it. We have skills gaps emerging in many sectors and it is crucial that young people are given the right training and encouragement to be able to fill these gaps,” she commented.

In Australia, Vocational Education and Training make up a big part of the education system, with nearly 5,000 providers and 1.8 million students.

The Council of Australian Governments (CAOG) recently reaffirmed the importance of greater participation in vocational education, pointing out that increasing the skills and qualifications of individual workers is critical to supporting Australian businesses, driving improvements in the economy’s productivity, and fostering greater levels of workforce participation.

The COAG had already signed up to a set of reforms to the national training system in 2012 in order to grow the pool of skilled workers and encourage existing workers to increase their skills sets.

Some of the key reforms included:

  • Ensuring that working age Australians without qualifications can acquire the skills they need by introducing a national training entitlement for a government subsidized training place
  • Reducing the upfront costs for students who are undertaking higher level qualifications by offering income-contingent loans
  • Improving the confidence of both employers and students in the quality of training courses through the development  of independent validation of training provider assessments
  • Providing students with easier access to information about training options, providers and provider quality through a new My Skills website
  • Supporting 375,000 additional students in completing their qualifications and improving enrolments and completions in high-level skills among groups of disadvantaged students, including Indigenous Australians


Marianne Stenger is a London-based freelance writer and journalist with extensive experience covering all things learning and development. She’s particularly interested in the psychology of learning and how technology is changing the way we learn. Her articles have been featured by the likes of ABC Education, The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, and Psych Central. Follow her on Twitter @MarianneStenger.

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