The development of vocational qualifications is impaired by limited engagement from employers and a dated view of the UK skills infrastructure; that is one message from IEMA’s recent response to a major consultation on adult skills and qualifications.

As part of its Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England, the UK Commission (UKCES) for Skills (UKCES) invited key stakeholders including IEMA to contribute to its research to ensure that all adult vocational qualifications are valued by employers and individuals. IEMA’s response provides a professional body and environmental perspective.

IEMA believes that one central barrier to the effective development of such qualifications is due to “mixed levels of employer engagement”; the response states “This is in part due to the skills infrastructure that doesn’t reflect a developing economy, but focuses on an outdated description of sectors... Environment and sustainability skills cut across sectors, but the outdated view held by some organisations has resulted in a fragmented and inconsistent approach to the development of environment and sustainability national occupational standards and qualifications.”

As a solution, IEMA recommends that increased involvement from business is vital: “The design of Adult Vocational Qualifications should always be through engagement and participation of industry to ensure that the qualifications developed are fit for purpose and meet the needs of industry both now, and as far as possible, in the future.”