The reformed vocational qualifications system will be more flexible and easier to understand for both employers and learners.
That was the message today from Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, who was speaking to stakeholders at a major vocational qualification reform conference in Belfast. The Minister also highlighted that the reform will provide learners with qualifications that are more valuable and relevant in today’s workplace.
The conference is part of the UK-wide vocational qualifications (VQs) reform programme, which aims to change the ways in which VQs are developed and delivered. Employers will be able to specify the skills that they need, and their sector skills councils will develop and approve VQs in partnership with recognised awarding bodies.
Sir Reg places employers at the very heart of the reform system. Speaking at the conference he said: “Specifying the skills employers want, and using that to drive the development of qualifications, will enable the Northern Ireland labour market to function more effectively.
“My message to employers is clear – if you are to be successful in the future, you must continue to develop the skills of your employees. It is the aim of the vocational qualifications reform programme to help you to do this in the most effective way possible. You have an opportunity today to shape the reform programme and I urge you to take it up.”
The new qualifications will be placed on the qualifications and credit framework in bite-size ‘units’ that can be combined to form full qualifications. This flexible approach will enable learners to plan their pathway through learning in the way that best suits their particular situation.