New VQ award celebrates employers

26th February 2013

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 months. 

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 qualifications.

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 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,, 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."

To find out more information and how to enter the awards, please go to:

Recent research from the Edge Foundation[1] 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 workforce.

More information on the research from the Edge Foundation and IPPR, can be found here

[1] Survey of 252 senior teaching leaders in English state schools in England carried out by Opinion Matters between 10th and 21st December, 2012.

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