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Education and employment minister Kim Howells has congratulated over 90,000 students who have achieved full General...
Education and employment minister Kim Howells has congratulated over 90,000 students who have achieved full General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ) awards this year, and said that the government was committed to rigorous vocational qualifications.

The GNVQ results show an increase of over 10 per cent in the numbers gaining a full award compared to last year. At Advanced level, almost 70 per cent of students achieved the equivalent of at least one A level.

Dr Howells said:

'I warmly congratulate all this year's successful students, their teachers and lecturers and the employers who supported the students. As today's figures show, GNVQs continue to gain in popularity, with some 240,000 students having achieved full GNVQ awards in the five years since the qualification was launched. Many more students will bolster today's figures as they complete their qualifications in the coming months.'

'GNVQs are a motivating and rewarding option for more and more young people. We estimate that about one in five of this year's successful A level and Advanced GNVQ students achieved their award through the GNVQ route.

'It is not just the students who are attracted by GNVQs. They are proving an extremely successful passport to higher education and employment, with 94 per cent of the 23,000 Advanced GNVQ students who applied to university this year receiving offers of places.

'Employers like American Express and J Laing Construction have welcomed the qualities which GNVQ recruits bring to their businesses which include organisation and time management, presentational and research skills, and confidence in their ability to succeed. Most employers nowadays recognise the critical importance of key skills like communication, using figures and confidence with IT, skills which form an integral part of all GNVQ programmes. This year 110,000 GNVQ students have achieved these key skills.

'The Government is building on this impressive record, seeking at every opportunity to strengthen vocational-based qualifications and recently has backed proposals by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications to pilot a redesigned model for delivering the GNVQ from next month. This will implement changes recommended by the Capey and Dearing reports in particular, to strengthen assessment. We have also announced our intention this autumn to consult widely on proposals to develop a single over-arching certificate for young people, allowing them to undertake A levels or vocational qualifications, and embracing key skills too. The Advanced GNVQ will be an important element in these proposals.'


1. GNVQs have had a phased introduction since 1992. They offer general and vocational education within a national framework.

2. GNVQs are unit based qualifications, now available in 14 subjects. They are taken at three levels: Advanced

- equivalent to 2 A level passes Intermediate

- equivalent to 4 GCSEs at A*-C Foundation

- equivalent to 4 GCSEs at D-G, and graded pass/merit/distinction at all levels.

3. Figures show the number successfully completing the award by a cut-off date out of the candidates intending to complete this year. This date - 31 July - is set for the purposes of giving these results, but GNVQs are not strictly time limited. Significant numbers of results come in after the cut-off date, even during August.

4. The number achieving a full award by 31 July at all levels was 90,476 (1996: 81,761). Of these 16.1% were graded distinction (1996: 15.9%), and 40.0% were graded merit (1996: 38.5%).

5. At Advanced level 51,897 achieved at least the equivalent of one A-level (six vocational units) (1996: 42,351). At Intermediate there were 45,996 full awards (1996: 44,688). At Foundation 7,483 (1996: 6,152).

6. All those successfully completing the award achieved the three mandatory key skills of communication, IT and application of number; a further 19,266 achieved the key skills without (yet) successfully completing the full award.

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