Speaking up in defence of NVQs

should like to speak out in defence of NVQs. They are too often seen as
low-level qualifications undertaken by put-upon school leavers in an
environment where credibility means the highest number of students
“successfully” through the system. This image fails to reflect their benefits
and flexibility.

qualifications fully recognise current experience and demonstrate the
application of actual skills and knowledge in a working environment. They can act
as powerful work-based training plans, and assist in monitoring progress as
well as achievement. Because they are work-based qualifications, employers,
colleges and independent training providers can act as the approved and
regulated assessment centre.

at all levels in the construction industry, NVQs are seen as a measure of a
skilled workforce by prospective clients.

Corporate Services has been involved with higher-level construction-occupation
NVQs since their introduction in the early 1990s. This has been both the
training division of a national contractor, and also a training provider and
NVQ assessment centre in its own right. As a result, Shepherd Construction has
seen the benefits of using these NVQs as part of its formal development
programmes for supervisors at level 3 and managers at level 4. The measurable
effectiveness of this approach earned Shepherd a national training award in

increasing the credibility of NVQs within the construction industry, the Chartered
Institute of Building (CIOB) has become the first professional body within the
industry to fully recognise for membership the personal achievement of an NVQ5
in Construction Contracts Management. As with all NVQs at level 5, the standard
of this is broadly equivalent to professional/postgraduate level. Shepherd
Corporate Services assesses this qualification for experienced people from
organisations such as Bovis Lend Lease that wish to demonstrate their
occupational competence.

the construction industry, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing has also
accepted specified NVQs into its membership structure. It is to be hoped that
this increased acceptance of NVQs will give the qualifications, and those who
achieve them, the credibility they deserve.

Julie Sykes, assessment centre co-ordinator, Shepherd Corporate Services

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