Training courses 'must be improved'

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INCOMPETENT trainees may be passing the Government's new vocational courses because some examiners are not trained to do the jobs themselves, according to a survey of 3,000 employers.

The Confederation of British Industry survey on National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), found that the courses were often badly designed, poorly implemented and inflexible.

The report, Quality Assessed, makes 68 recommendations on how they can be improved. It says the NVQ structure, under which training will eventually take place in every area of work including medicine and the law, should be redesigned with options to meet the requirements of individual firms. The structure is designed to adapt vocational qualifications and fit them into a five-level system so that they can be equated to academic achievements.

Employers told the confederation they were often unable to find managers who were willing or able to assess trainees' competence.

The report adds that too many NVQ courses rely on pen and paper exams and on simulations rather than on-the-job experience.

Too much jargon and bureaucracy was involved in running the courses, the survey revealed, and many employers found the expense prohibitive. More aggressive marketing of courses was needed.

However, employers did also find benefits in using the courses. Those who had taken them up found that their business performance and results improved.

Quality Assessed: The CBI review of National Vocational Qualifications and Scottish Vocational Qualifications; CBI Publication Sales, Centre Point, 103 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1DU.