NVQ pioneer thinks again

Hospitality firm Scottish & Newcastle Retail is considering abandoning
National Vocational Qualifications.

"We are still only halfway through our thinking," said HR director
Kim Parish. "However, I don’t know whether or not NVQs have had their day
in this country. I do not pick up any signals from the Government that it is at
the top of its agenda."

S&NR pioneered NVQs in the hospitality industry a decade ago and now has
22,000 people working towards levels one to three. Parish said, "We got a
lot of benefits from NVQs in terms of resources and a commitment to training
from our managers, but I have to say that things are changing."

She is concerned that the narrow competency framework of NVQs cannot produce
the improved customer service that is vital to the company’s success.
"Part of our thinking is that we can deliver something better
internally," Parish explained. "We are currently surveying our area
business managers to get some feedback from them on the value of NVQs."

Parish has approached awarding bodies such as City & Guilds to see if
NVQs can be developed to meet S&NR’s needs. Any decision to withdraw from
NVQs would have to be taken by the board and Parish said the firm remained
committed to using NVQs as part of Modern Apprenticeships.

By Lucie Carrington

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