On course to succeed

29 January, 2010
Page 18 

A world of change and only 650 words to sum it up (that's 12 wasted already). You could write a book on the new qualifications framework, its implications and benefits for employers, and how bakery fits in. Instead, here is the slimmed-down, abridged, Dr Atkins version just the protein, no carbs.

Last year, the government demanded a shake-up of the qualifications framework. So food and drink sector skills council Improve developed new modular vocational qualifications, which meant:

l VRQs are to be replaced with Improve Vocational Qualifications (IVQs): these are intended to provide underpinning knowledge and could be college-based;

l N/SVQs are replaced by Improve Proficiency Qualifica-tions (IPQs): these will confirm the competence of people in the workplace.

The writing of the IPQ units is nearly done-and-dusted. And in an intriguing twist, employers would even potentially be able to create their own IPQ units to fit their own business needs.

Meanwhile, the National Skills Academy (NSA) has been developing a broad-based modular qualification aimed at a Level 2 audience the Professional Bakery course to offer a rounded, gold-plated qualification for the whole industry. You can file this under IVQs.

The evaluation of the Professional Bakery three-month pilot is now in and it is being hailed "a huge success", with the report saying it demonstrated: that the course would appeal to all kinds of employers; that employers were willing to train staff if it were provided at the right time and in a convenient location; and that there was a relevant future for colleges working in partnership with employers.

In fact, some of the feedback suggested that some content was too tough in places and this will be remedied and fed into the development of a new, more advanced, second part to the course. Those people who completed the first part would be able to graduate on to this.

The key to Improve's IPQ units and the NSA's Professional Bakery course is the flexibility of delivery. The former will launch in April and the latter in September.

The murky area of funding is a yet to-be-written opus, with discussions ongoing, and it is one for which we have (blessedly) run out of space.





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