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Home > News > February 2006 > 22-Feb-2006

Initiative aims to revamp food and drink qualifications

Improve, the food and drink Sector Skills Council, is leading an initiative that aims to revamp work-related qualifications in food and drink manufacturing to make them more relevant, more achievable, and more attractive to employees and employers.

Through the creation of a Qualifications Framework, it aims to increase the take-up of all learning opportunities - from Level 1, through apprenticeships, and up to degree level.

"We have started working with the qualifications-awarding bodies and with employers to set up the framework," said Derek Williams, development director for Improve. "At the top of our thinking is the need to make available a much broader range of study subjects, and establish clearer, more accessible pathways to success. Crucial to this will be the introduction of a system in which students, whether in work or in education, can accumulate bite-sized units, or modules, of learning, which build towards the qualifications they desire.

"They will be able to select from an extensive menu of module options so that the qualifications they gain will be tailor-made and will comprise learning in the skills most relevant to their individual needs. Modules of learning will be especially helpful for those in employment who have limited time available for intensive study but who can accumulate knowledge and skills over time.

"This is a complex reform, which has started with a widespread consultation process with employers and qualifications-awarding bodies to define the skills the sector needs. This work will establish a formal statement of the Performance Standards for the sector, which will be used by Improve and its partners to agree the content of the required units of learning, and the make-up of the new-style qualifications.

"Next will be a wide-ranging overhaul of existing qualifications offered by the various awarding bodies, leading to the launch of the Qualifications Framework in April 2007. Thereafter we will continue working with our partners to introduce more new-style qualifications, which will fill in the gaps in learning provision and develop the framework."

Improve says the framework will also incorporate the new diploma in manufacturing for 14-19-year-olds, which is scheduled for launch in 2008.

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