A new VQ Employer of the Year award has been launched, marking the start of the sixth annual VQ Day campaign. The award, which opens for nominations today, aims to celebrate UK businesses, from SMEs to PLCs, which positively embrace vocational learning within their workforce.
Nominations for the VQ Learner of the Year also open today.
Employers and colleges are being encouraged to submit outstanding
students who have gained a vocational qualification in the last 12
The deadline for submissions for both the VQ Employer and
Learner of the Year Awards is 3rd May, 2013.
Panels of industry experts in England, Northern Ireland,
Scotland and Wales will judge the nominations, appointing overall
winners in each nation - for both the employer and the learner
awards. Additionally, nine regional VQ Learner of the Year Awards
will be awarded across England. Each Nation will have its own
awards ceremony, which for the England winners will be a
presentation by a Minister at the House of Commons in London.
Held on 5th June 2013, VQ Day is a celebration of
practical and vocational achievements not only to the individual
but to UK PLC. From 16 year olds to over 60s, it's about
celebrating new skills, no matter the age, and encouraging parity
of esteem between high quality vocational and academic
Jan Hodges, CEO of the Edge Foundation:"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."
2012'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
"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
To find out more information and how to enter the awards, please
go to: www.vqday.org.uk/vq-awards
Recent research from the Edge Foundation has found that 60 per cent of schools are either
planning to cut the provision of vocational qualifications or have
already done so in response to the changes in the national league
tables, despite 85 per cent of school leaders agreeing that
vocational qualifications are valuable for their students.
Notes to editors
For further information, please contact the red consultancy:
t: 0207 025 6500
Please note that further case studies are available of
individuals that have achieved success by taking a VQ as well as
examples of how employers have embraced VQs within their
More information on the research from the Edge Foundation and
IPPR, can be found
 Survey of 252 senior teaching leaders in English
state schools in England carried out by Opinion Matters between
10th and 21st December, 2012.