A little while ago The Edge Foundation (the education charity that runs VQ Day) asked me if I would like to interview the Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock MP, about vocational education. To which I responded with a definite yes! Since doing my BTEC National Diploma in IT a few years ago at Huntingdonshire Regional College I have been really passionate about vocational learning and want to encourage others to be so too.
When I left school I tried studying for my AS levels but soon realised this route wasn't quite right for me, so I opted to do a BTEC instead. I found that when I was applying for universities there were a few that looked down at the fact that I didn't have A-levels, some wouldn't even consider my application. This has started to change and the benefits of opting to go to college and taking a vocational path has become clearer, but we still have a long way to go before it is fully embraced. So, the opportunity to quiz the Government on what they think about vocational learning was something I couldn't pass up.
I hopped on the train to London to give the Skills Minister a grilling about VQs and where they fit in society. On the topic of vocational learners he told me that there is strong evidence of the value that VQs bring to individual careers as well as the positive benefits they bring to employers and the economy as a whole. He went so far as to say that UK businesses wouldn't be growing without vocationally qualified people - a real confidence boost for all vocational learners looking for jobs!
We also discussed the future skills agenda and he explained that the Government's job is to make sure there are high quality, high value options for everybody to take according to what they need to do and what they want to do - he added that we're not there yet but we're well on the way.
It was reassuring to hear that the Government is taking note of the many benefits of VQs and placing them at the forefront of the skills agenda. While it was also refreshing to hear that they are aware that there is still work to be done in. It's a key step forward that should do much to help vocational qualifications achieve the same level of recognition as other more academic routes.
If this blog post has left you wanting to know more about the government's planned education reforms, or you would just like to hear Matthew Hancock MP talk about his childhood aspiration to be an astronaut, you can view the interview in full here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqnm8G-PIfM&list=UUjYIAjg4pqaOKnHCW6KlMWA
Vocational qualifications are a great way to get your career started, so start looking now to see what you can do!