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Scheme seeks to recognise vocational skills excellence
A celebratory event to mark the success of the first achievers of the Star Units of Credit took place at MacDonald Ansty Hall Hotel, near Coventry in July.
The Star Units project was set up to identify practical ways of recognising and crediting exceptional performance within NVQs.
Three different models were piloted across five colleges in the West Midlands in the following sectors; Motor Vehicle, Construction, Catering, Customer Service, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy.
The project is sponsored by Coventry and Warwickshire Learning and Skills Council and led by UK Skills and City & Guilds.
Nineteen Star Unit candidates attended the event and received their Star Units of Credit from Michael Osbaldeston, group brand manager at City & Guilds. Twenty-one assessors also attended, receiving certificates of congratulations.
City & Guilds was tasked with developing the assessment guidelines for the Star Units pilot initiative. Chris Humphries, director general of City & Guilds, said: "It was a good challenge to have as it enabled us to look at ways in which we could reward those people who really excel in their fields.
"At the moment people on vocational qualifications, particularly NVQs, only receive a certificate which proves competence. Why shouldn't we acknowledge learners who are a cut above the rest - in the same way that students doing their GCSEs, A Levels or other traditional qualifications are eligible for different grades, or even A* grades, which prove to them and to others just how proficient they are in their subjects?
"It's about time vocational qualifications were given the same status as academic qualifications and this is one way to do it."
Jacqui Henderson CBE, UK Skills' chief executive, said: "We work in an increasingly competitive market and it is crucial to make sure employers can encourage their employees to develop high level skills.
"Being able to recognise exceptional performance is a real confidence booster to the individual and can motivate them to become even more highly skilled. This first year pilot has been enormously well received. During its third year, the project and its units of credit will extend to new skills and colleges, as well as involve more awarding bodies."
Peter Shearing, partnership director at LSC Coventry and Warwickshire, said: "The Learning and Skills Council were happy to support UK Skills on its Star Units initiative. In offering recognition for performance excellence in NVQs, Star Units is in-keeping with the LSC's remit to provide a nation equipped with world class skills.
"It is vital for learners to acquire high level skills which are directly relevant to their vocation if this country is to compete in an increasingly competitive global economy."
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