More than three million UK workers received vocational qualifications last year, according to research released to mark the inaugural Vocational Qualifications Day.
Research by education foundation Edge found 3.25 million qualifications were awarded, almost 10% higher from the previous year and 117% higher than levels in 2002.
Retail, healthcare, construction and business led the growth, which is a result of “significant demand from employers for qualifications designed to meet the skills needed in the economy,” according to Andy Powell, chief executive of Edge.
“Today is a landmark day for vocational qualifications,” he said. “At long last, we can see a full picture of the many different paths to success available and the sheer numbers achieving vocational qualifications.”
“We hope to see the continued expansion of the numbers taking vocational qualifications to ensure highly skilled workers are available to fill the gaps provided by increased employment opportunities,” he continued.
The number of schools awarding vocational qualifications has doubled over the past five years, although colleges, private training companies and employers are still the largest providers of such courses.
VQ Day was launched in a bid to raise the profile of vocational qualifications and will be an annual event.