The role and use of vocational qualifications

Eraut, Michael (2001) The role and use of vocational qualifications. National Institute Economic Review, 178. pp. 88-98. ISSN 0027-9501

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Abstract

Most vocational qualifications have been gazumped by general educational qualifications that have higher selection value,
and their relative esteem is self-perpetuating. The use value of vocational qualifications depends on (1) the appropriateness of, and interconnection between, their work-related and work-based components, and (2) further work-based learning after qualification to ensure that the acquired knowledge and skills can be used in the particular circumstances and conditions of the current workplace. The NVQ experience has confirmed that detailed national specifications cannot match the diversity of workplace learning needs, so a more flexible approach is needed. Qualification policy should be based on evidence of fitness for purpose, rather than political troubleshooting or wishful thinking; and backed by a programme of incisive research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper uses a range of research findings to address key policy issues in vocational education. The paper draws on the author's own research funded by ESRC, QCA and the English National Board for Nursing. It argues that the selection value of UK qualifications trumps their use value, and that policies for vocational qualifications focus on responses to problems rather than serious attempts to tackle them. Issues raised include the failure to recognise the significance of the difference between work related learning (then exemplified by GNVQs) and work-based learning (still exemplified by NVQs, placements and sandwich courses). All its points are still relevant today; because the continuing policy focus on qualifications ignores the huge importance of the quality of work-based learning, the scarcity of suitable placements and the failure to tackle problems caused by weak transfer between different types of context.
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Michael Ruarc Eraut
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:42
Last Modified: 29 May 2012 09:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17860
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