Over 3,250,000 vocational qualifications were awarded in the UK last year according to figures released yesterday to mark the first Vocational Qualifications Day (VQ Day).
'The VQ Landscape 2008: A review of vocational qualification achievements in the UK’ conducted by education foundation Edge, found that vocational awards rose by 8.3% on the previous year and 117% on the numbers awarded five years ago.
In addition, the top five vocational subject areas to study in the last year have been cited as healthcare, retail, business, construction and engineering.
According to the report, the growth in numbers taking vocational qualifications has been down to the significant demand from employers for qualifications designed to meet the skills needed in the economy.
The study found that over half of all NVQ/SVQ awards are achieved by people aged 25 and over, and a quarter by people over 40 while the number of vocational qualifications achieved in schools has nearly doubled, although colleges, private training companies and employers remain the largest providers of courses.
Andy Powell, chief executive of Edge, said: "At long last we can now see a full picture of the many different paths to success available and the sheer numbers achieving vocational qualifications. This Review also highlights the very real benefits that vocational qualifications offer to young people, adults and the economy – providing people with the skills so desperately needed by employers.
"Vocational courses are of the highest standard and truly equip people for the world of work. In the future, the publication of this Review will enable the public to judge the numbers of people gaining such vital qualifications and assess the quality of the courses on offer year on year. It's therefore vital that we continue to build on the success so clearly identified in this Review," he said.