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21 June 2012
As learners, teachers and employers throughout the UK joined in a national celebration of vocational qualifications, the Institute for Learning (IfL) marked VQ Day by paying tribute to the teachers and trainers who help hundreds of thousands of learners each year gain the skills, experience, qualifications and motivation they need to get ahead.
Toni Fazaeli, chief executive of IfL, said:
"VQ Day presents a perfect opportunity to raise the profile of practical and vocational learning; to highlight the value of vocational qualifications to businesses, individuals and the economy; and to increase awareness of how high-quality vocational qualifications can enhance life and work chances.
"It is also an appropriate time for us to pay tribute to the dedicated teachers and trainers who are central to the success of vocational courses. Most will have worked in their chosen industry or specialist field before moving into teaching in further education and skills and, as dual professionals, they need to be expert and stay up to date in their subject or vocational area, as well as in teaching.
"To ensure that young people and adults of all ages have access to the best possible vocational teaching and learning, it is vital that teachers new to the sector benefit from high-quality initial teacher training, and that all teachers are supported in their practice and have access to up to date vocational facilities. As their professional body, IfL works to support individual teachers and trainers to be excellent in their practice.
"As part of IfL's work with the Skills Commission on its national policy inquiry into specialisation, a group of 11 IfL members – all teachers and trainers from across the diverse FE and skills sector in England – recently visited the Houses of Parliament to share with the commissioners their collective experience, explaining how they keep up to date with new teaching methods, new technologies and developments in their specialist subject areas. While recognising the need for generic professional development, which can often be met within a provider organisation, the specialist teachers agreed that a renewed emphasis should be given to the best strategies for keeping up to date in their own subject or vocational learning specialisms.
"As VQ Day draws to a close, we offer our congratulations to the 2012 VQ Learner of the Year Award winner, Dave Hughes, who did a national diploma in art and design and HND in graphics at Newcastle College, and now runs his own business, hiring other former FE students, while also working towards a master's degree. I am pleased to learn too that East of England winner Corrine Patmore, who did a national diploma in IT, has nearly finished a bachelor's in education, is passionate about teaching and supports other teachers in her college. Hers is an example of initial teacher training being an important complement to specialist vocational training.
"This is a proud day for all the learners, apprentices, teachers and trainers in our sector."