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Friday, March 1, 2013

Award launched to celebrate firms that champion vocational learning

A new award which aims to celebrate businesses that champion and positively embrace vocational learning within their workforce has been launched today.

The annual VQ (vocational qualification) day, which is now in its sixth year, has launched two new categories; VQ Employer of the Year award and VQ Learner of the Year. Nominations for both categories are now open, with employers and colleges being encouraged to submit outstanding students who gained a vocational qualification in the last 12 months.

Held on 5th June 2013, VQ Day is a celebration of practical and vocational achievements not only to the individual but to UK PLC. For those aged 16 and above, it's about celebrating new skills, no matter the age, and encouraging parity of esteem between high quality vocational and academic qualifications.

Jan Hodges, CEO of the Edge Foundation, said: "This year we have revitalised the awards to celebrate not only the successes of VQ learners, but also to recognise UK businesses that have successfully embraced and championed technical, practical and work-related skills within their workforce.

"We recognise there are many paths to success and it is important that vocational qualifications can achieve equal weighting with that of other qualifications, which is why a celebration such as VQ Day is so important. We are encouraging all employers and educational organisations to help their workforce or students get the edge by learning through doing and take part in a day that celebrates individual achievements, and the wider benefits they bring to society and business."

Last year's VQ Learner of the Year, 24-year-old Dave Hughes, believes his vocational qualifications helped him start his own company, and he is soon to launch a second business.

He said: "I really feel that there is a stereotype within society that if you haven't done an academic qualification, such as an A-level or a degree, then you can't have a successful career. This is absolutely not the case and I believe more should be done by teachers in schools to provide students with the same level of information about vocational qualifications as they do with the more 'traditional' types of qualifications.

"I started my creative agency, elloDave, in 2009 and the recognition of the VQ Learner of the Year award has definitely helped in attracting new clients and growing the business. I also believe it has enabled my second company, weprintpaper.com, to get off the ground. Later this year I'm going to go back to Newcastle-under-Lyme College to act as a mentor to other students who are currently taking vocational qualifications and those interested in starting their own businesses later down the line."


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