New qualifications framework could save billions of pounds

A radical framework to impose order on the jumble of disconnected vocational training and qualifications in England will be unveiled today as part of a drive to help employers avoid wasting billions of pounds a year.

Businesses spend £24bn each year on training staff to improve their skills, “but a lot of that is just poured down the drain”, according to the Qualifications and Curriculum Agency (QCA).

The agency’s proposed Framework for Achievement would give young people and adults the ability to work towards qualifications that are flexible, unit-based, transferable and recognised universally by employers.

Ken Boston, QCA chief, told the Financial Times: “At the moment, there are 4,500 accredited qualifications from over 100 awarding bodies across 23 industries. Many are outdated and there are a great many duplicates.

“We can do better than halve this number. What we’re proposing is a credit framework on nine levels, from the age of 14 to level eight –  the equivalent of a doctorate.”

Terms such as ‘certificate’ and ‘diploma’ would be standardised, in-house training would be accredited, students would be able to build up units of learning at their own pace, and employers’ needs for skills would be addressed.

“It will allow us to have fewer qualifications but more diversity and flexibility within qualifications,” Boston said.

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