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Employer Engagement Programme

Last updated: 21 October 2009


High quality training and development is one of the cornerstones of any successful business today.  Developing a highly skilled workforce helps ensure businesses operate competitively, aids retention and makes businesses more productive - ever more important during a difficult economic climate.

QCA is working with employers to strengthen their role in education and training through the development of the Employer Engagement Programme (EEP). The EEP is part of a major reform of the vocational qualifications landscape to make it more relevant to the needs of employers and more flexible for learners.

Employers can get their high quality in-house training nationally accredited on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) through the EEP. The QCF awards credit for qualifications and units (small steps of learning) and enables people to gain qualifications at their own pace along flexible routes. 

There are many ways to get involved and make your training count.  A number of employers have already been involved in the programme including McDonald's, Network Rail and Flybe. For more details on how to become part of this initiative please visit the links on the left hand side of this page.

Employers recognised as awarding organisations film clip

View the full transcript of this film.

Transcript of Employers recognised as awarding organisations film clip

Dick Palmer, Principal, City College Norwich: 'The college was really interested in getting involved in the QCA pilot project right from the very start because we knew the college would help us work with employers. We're a large vocational college, and we've got lots of employers that are already engaged with us and we saw the opportunity of achieving awarding body status as another mechanism for being able to support local businesses around Norwich and Norfolk. So we're working here for example with Marsh and Norwich Union, Swiss Re, these companies to look at developing an induction program.'

John Carter, Head of Learning and Development, Marsh: 'We've worked very closely with the skills academy in terms of beginning to put together the modules that will form part of the induction, and I think that's an important point to make really that it's about the business and the education element of the National Skills Academy working hand-in-hand. I think if they work independently, it doesn't work so well.'

Dick Palmer, Principal, City College Norwich: 'City College is the Eastern England hub of the National Skills Academy and Financial Services. One of the benefits of becoming an awarding organisation has been the work we've done with the Financial Services sector Skills Council.'

Teresa Sayers, Chief Executive, FSSC: 'I think the concept of national recognition is a fantastic opportunity for employers in my sector to get external recognition for what they do in house. Financial Services has a wealth of good practice from many firms and I think the opportunity to have that external validation is both good for the employer but also for employees as well.'

Judith Armatage, Director of Professional Development, REC: 'REC members can benefit from nationally recognized qualifications in a number of ways. Firstly, I think it'll enable them to both attract, retain, and develop more staff, which will help prepare them for business now and in the future. Secondly, I think it enables them to see that there's a national standard; it's something that they can benchmark performance against, and also they will know that the qualifications are adaptable. They don't fit a generic template, and they can change and develop indeed as the recruitment industry changes ad develops over a period of time.'

Nicky Greet, Professional Development Manager, PLASA: 'I think as a trade body we're much closer to the industry and to the sort of companies we represent. Therefore, we're able to provide qualifications that are fit for purpose because we can listen to them, we understand their markets, we understand their needs.'

Robin Elias, Director, Unusual Rigging: 'PLASA have proved to be the right people to put this scheme together and administer it because of their previous knowledge of the industry. Health and safety's becoming more and more rigorous these days. I think every employer wants to be sure that they're only employing competent and accredited people.'

Mark Surtees, Managing Director, Outback Rigging: 'Throughout the rigging industry over the last many many years, there's been a complete lack of recognition of the skills we need to employ in our business.'

Simon Tiernan, Unusual Rigging: 'Having a nationally recognized certificate will mean that we can take what we do outside of our industry and be recognised in other industries nationally for what we do and what we can achieve.'

Mark Surtees, Managing Director, Outback Rigging: 'One of the benefits of PLASA becoming an awarding body are that as it represents many small and medium-sized enterprises, it affords the opportunity for companies like Outback Rigging to become directly involved in generating the outcomes that we need from qualifications from an industry as a whole.'

Judith Armatage, Director of Professional Development, REC: 'The REC has had a really positive experience with this pilot scheme. We've found QCA to be incredibly supportive. There's also been an eagerness to find workable solutions to some of the problems of us being both a learning provider and an awarding body, and QCA have also adopted a very business-led approach to the whole program.'

Dick Palmer, Principal, City College Norwich: 'I think it's important that both employers, employees and learning providers understand the nature of the accreditation process for achieving awarding organisation status is a robust one. People need to know that these are national qualifications that have some credibility.

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