The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, has today welcomed the publication of an independent report following a review of vocational qualifications in Wales, commissioned by the Welsh Government.
The review forms part of The Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
The Review of vocational qualifications in Wales report makes 33 recommendations for the Welsh Government and other organisations.
It will help determine the next steps in the potential expansion of the range of made-for-Wales vocational qualifications to meet the future needs of learners and the economy in Wales.
Vocational qualifications are practical qualifications that relate to a specific job or career sector. Unlike A-levels, they combine a mix of theory and practical learning, often with work experience as part of the course.
Jeremy Miles said:
“This report is an important step in ensuring learners have the qualifications they need to flourish and progress.
“I am committed to ensuring there is equality between vocational and academic routes of learning in Welsh education.
“Improving the delivery and range of made for Wales vocational qualifications will be vital in ensuring we meet the future needs of the Welsh economy, while providing our students with opportunities to gain the skills and qualifications they need.”
Employers and students attended an event in Merthyr College today to celebrate vocational qualifications and launch the report.
Speaking at the event was the Chair of the review, Sharron Lusher, who said:
“I have seen the difference that vocational education and training has made to the lives of so many people.
“I hope this review acts as a catalyst to raise the prominence of vocational qualifications in Wales and encourages everyone to consider vocational education when making decisions about their futures.”
The report acknowledges what is already good within vocational qualifications and the way they are delivered, based on the evidence provided, but recommends change where it is needed.
It considers the vocational landscape in the UK as well internationally and recognises the importance of strong support from employers in both developing and delivering vocational qualifications.
It recommends increasing the number of vocational qualifications available through the medium of Welsh or bilingually.
Designated Member Siân Gwenllian said:
“I would like to thank Sharron Lusher for this comprehensive review which is an important contribution to realising our aspirations for reform of the qualifications system.
“As the report recognises, vocational qualifications are one piece of a wider jigsaw. Fundamentally, this is about people and ensuring they have every opportunity to realise their potential whichever path they take which in turn will help realise our country's collective potential.
“Ensuring we have vocational qualifications to address the needs of Wales will make a significant difference to both our learners and the future of our nation.”