GNVQ plans could boost design’s standing

A mooted boost in prestige for the advanced General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ), will “create more opportunities for design students”, predicts Design Council education and training director Moira Fraser Steele.

Sir Ron Dearing’s Review of Qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds, published last week, suggests changing the GNVQ to “applied A-level”.

Fraser Steele says: “GNVQs are often not recognised as a gateway into the educational world. They are seen as very vocational and not academic. This should change the perception for further education and employers.”

Fraser Steele also sees Dearing’s emphasis on developing core literary, numeracy and information technology skills as positive. “So few design students become designers that the broader-based the skills package the better.”

De Montfort University’s head of design management Wendy Powell sees design as the one subject “embodying what Dearing is aiming for – the bridging of the gap between the academic and the practical”.

According to Powell, Sir Ron Dearing is “tackling exactly the right issue – the long-term problem of prejudice against vocational skills in favour of academic qualifications.”

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