Supporters of General National Vocational Qualifications, which attract more than 17 000 design and art students each year, have spoken out after a report claimed the qualifications are failing to meet their objectives.
GNVQs fail to provide adequate preparation for employment and are unlikely to be perceived on a par with A-levels, according to the report by the Institute of Education. It also suggests more than half of students who start courses fail to complete them.
But National Council for Vocational Qualifications marketing director Philip Berry claims, “We’re getting increasing evidence now about how effective they [GNVQs] are as a pathway into employment and higher education. Employers value the teamwork and communications skills coupled with detailed industry knowledge.”
Introduced five years ago, GNVQs are aimed at 16- to 19-year-olds as an alternative to A-levels. Art and design is the fourth most popular subject.
Figures from the now defunct Art and Design Admissions Registry show the number of GNVQ students accepted on to degree courses rose sharply by 124.5 per cent last year.
Design Council director of education and training Moira Fraser Steele says: “If it’s not possible for everybody to do A-levels there has to be something else. It’s something we should be working with to make them work properly.”