• Graduates more likely to be employed if they studied a vocational course at sixth form or college

    A new study shows an established vocational route into degree study, and that vocational skills are a ‘recipe for resilience’ in a changing labour market.

    New research published today indicates that university graduates who only studied vocational qualifications at sixth form or college were more likely to be in employment than their peers who had studied purely academic qualifications such as A levels.

    Analysis of Labour Force statistics in a new study by London Economics, commissioned by Pearson, showed that, across age groups and gender, graduates with BTECs had an average full-time employment rate of 80%, compared with 74% for A level-only graduates.

    On the day a government consultation closes on the future of vocational qualifications being taught in schools and colleges, these figures underline the role that qualifications that develop vocational skills could play in reducing the UK’s historically high unemployment rates now and in the future.

    Although many more A level students progress to university than those studying vocational qualifications, thousands are now starting degrees having completed BTECs and other qualifications, often after a period of time in the workplace. Almost 40% of BTEC learners are aged 27 or above when they achieve their degree, compared with only about 10% of A level learners.

    The figures indicate that A level learners take a much more ‘linear’ path compared with ‘non-linear’ BTEC learners, who have a mix of education and employment experience. However, over half of BTEC graduates progress straight to university on completing college or after a short break.

    Figures showed that graduates who had studied BTECs at school and college were on a par with their A level-only peers in terms of the jobs they subsequently secured. On some measures they did better: more BTEC-only graduates were found to be working as Managers, Senior Officials, or in Associate Professional roles compared with A level-only graduates (48.9% versus 45.1%).

    The other main findings of the report included:

    • 56.1% of BTEC students with a degree studied Engineering, Maths and Computing and Business and Finance compared with only 26.8% of A level students.
    • On average, BTEC students graduating from university are as likely to achieve a first-class degree as their A level peers (BTEC graduates at 12.2% compared with 11.4% for A level). 
    • Male graduates with a BTEC in the Tyne and Wear and northern regions, West Yorkshire, East Anglia, parts of the West Midlands and Northern Ireland earn more than those who only did A levels at college and sixth form, though this effect is reversed in London and the south east.
    • Across all regions, BTEC graduates in skilled trade occupations earn more.

    Rod Bristow from Pearson said:

    “We already know that there is a strong positive correlation between having a vocational qualification such as a BTEC and being in employment. This new data shows that vocational qualifications, like A levels, also give you the opportunity to excel at university.

    “This research is no reason to rest on our laurels. With unemployment rates at a historic high amongst young people, we need to learn the lessons from these insights.

    “All students, whether they are taking an academic or a vocational route, should have the opportunity to develop the workplace skills and experiences that employers clearly value, and which are enabling success at degree level in disciplines that are critical to growing our economy, like Engineering and Computing.”

    Dr Gavan Conlon of London Economics said:

    “Having looked at the data of tens of thousands of workers across several sectors over a number of years, this analysis is clear that those learners who attained their degree through the BTEC route are more likely to be employed.

    “With a rapidly changing economy, people need to continually update and adapt their skills, and we’re seeing people take up degrees later in life, as well as school leavers. The blend of skills and motivation developed through vocational qualifications and time in work may prove to be the recipe for long-term resilience in the employment market.”

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  • Change of awarding organisation name from Edexcel to Pearson

    The name of our awarding organisation is changing from Edexcel to Pearson from April 2013.

    As you may know, Pearson has been the parent company of the awarding organisation Edexcel since 2003. In 2010, the legal name of the Edexcel awarding organisation became Pearson Education Limited - although, with the agreement of the regulator, we continued to use the name Edexcel for our awarding activities on the understanding that we would move to Pearson in the near future.

    In summer 2010, the awarding organisation EDI plc also became part of Pearson. From April 2013, all qualifications that would have been regulated as part of EDI will be the responsibility of Pearson Education Limited.

    With this in mind, we've decided that now is the right time to apply the Pearson name to all of our awarding activities.

    So, from 3 April 2013, our awarding organisation listing on the Register for Regulated Qualifications is ‘Pearson’ rather than Edexcel. All Pearson qualifications will begin with Pearson in their title, followed by our existing brands (BTEC, Edexcel, EDI and LCCI). An Edexcel GCSE in Mathematics will be a Pearson Edexcel GCSE in Mathematics; similarly, the title of a BTEC qualification will be 'Pearson BTEC Level 2 in Art and Design', for example.

    What does this mean for you?

    In practical terms, this now means:

    • On the Register of Regulated Qualifications our qualifications will be listed under Pearson as the awarding organisation, although Edexcel, BTEC, EDI and LCCI will be searchable in the qualification title box.
    • We’re in the process of changing all Pearson Education Limited qualification titles so they start with the preface ‘Pearson’ on RITs (Ofqual's regulated qualifications listing system). We’ll continue to use the names Edexcel, BTEC, LCCI and others, but prefaced by Pearson to make it clear who the awarding organisation is in official titles. You’ll see these changes to qualification titles over time on a range of documents, including specifications, sample assessment materials and certificates.
    • If you're in Scotland, you may also notice some changes to our qualification titles. Pearson Education Limited qualifications offered in Scotland will start with 'Pearson'. However, there will be no titling change to Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), as these don't carry the awarding organisation name.
    • Some documents and letters you’d previously have received from Edexcel will now be from Pearson.
    • Employees and consultants supporting our awarding organisation, such as Assessment Associates, will no longer be described as working ‘for Edexcel’, but as working for Pearson Qualifications Services. This reflects the fact that these employees work to support our full range of products, not just those from Edexcel.

    You’ll notice changes to reflect our new approach over the next few months, although some things (our web presence for example) will take longer to change. We hope you'll bear with us as we continue to work towards a single identity for our awarding organisation.

    Frequently asked questions

    Does Edexcel still exist?
    Yes. Edexcel is a product brand from Pearson. BTEC, EDI and LCCI are also product brands from Pearson. The business unit within Pearson that was known as Edexcel is now Pearson Qualification Services.

    What is Pearson Qualification Services?
    Pearson Qualification Services is the department and teams within Pearson that develop and support the full range of Edexcel, BTEC and EDI qualifications.

    Are your qualifications still accredited in the same way?

    Will your qualifications still be recognised by universities and employers?

    How does this affect qualifications in Scotland?
    The Scottish Qualifications Authority also recognises our awarding organisation name as Pearson. Scottish BTECs will now have Pearson in the official title and existing Edexcel qualifications will also have Pearson in the official title. There will be no titling change to Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) as these do not carry the awarding organisation name.

    How will Pearson support me to deliver qualifications?
    We’ll continue to use the existing systems to deliver Edexcel and BTEC qualifications. Edexcel Online will continue as a service for administrators, providing support at every stage of the qualification cycle. We’re currently working to bring together all our Pearson systems to improve and streamline the way we communicate with you, and we’ll keep you updated and involved as we make progress with this.

    Can I still use ResultsPlus?
    Yes. Your Edexcel Online username and password will continue to give you access to ResultsPlus.

    Will this change affect learners in any way?
    No. There will be no impact on learners or the way you register a learner for a qualification. However, over time you'll see changes to the title of the qualification on documents and certificates as Pearson qualifications will begin with Pearson in the title, followed by our existing brands like BTEC, Edexcel, EDI and LCCI. For example, an Edexcel GCSE in Mathematics will be a Pearson Edexcel GCSE in Mathematics; similarly, the title of a BTEC qualification will be 'Pearson BTEC Level 2 in Art and Design'.

    Am I still an Edexcel, BTEC or EDI Approved Centre?
    Yes. Nothing is changing in the way we approve centres to deliver our qualifications, and you’ll continue to be an Edexcel, BTEC or EDI Approved Centre.

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  • Our response to the government consultation on vocational qualifications

    Pearson UK president Rod Bristow had this to say about the government proposals to reform vocational qualifications for 16-19 year olds in England.

    Rod said:

    “At a time when the demands of higher education and the needs of employers are changing rapidly, it is right that we should be reviewing vocational qualifications, just as we are academic qualifications. Young people deserve assurance that the qualifications they take in school or at college will give them the knowledge and skills they need to go on and meet their ambitions, and will not close off opportunities.

    “There is clear evidence that those who achieve high-quality vocational qualifications go on to excel in higher education as well as in work. We should be aiming to build on that success.

    Nearly one hundred thousand young people progress to university study with a BTEC every year, and the data demonstrates that vocational qualifications lead to educational progress, greater employability and higher earnings.”
    “Our goal is to create world class vocational qualifications which empower young people to progress and to compete with their peers globally, in higher education and in work.”

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  • Our response to High Court judgment on 2012 GCSE English results

    Pearson UK president Rod Bristow has commented on the judgment from the High Court in relation to the 2012 GCSE English results.

    He said:

    “We understand this has been a time of uncertainty for students, teachers and parents. We are pleased that the courts have investigated the evidence thoroughly and found that our awarding processes were rigorous and fair.

    “Yet there is much to be learned from the events of this summer. We will now focus on working even more closely with the regulator, government, higher education and employers to secure the confidence of students, parents and teachers in the values and standards of our exam system.”

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  • Our response to the announcement on the future of GCSEs

    Following Michael Gove’s speech on curriculum, exam and accountability reform for GCSEs, Pearson UK president Rod Bristow added to the debate.

    Rod said:

    "We must encourage all young people to have high educational aspirations, and raise the standards bar to match and exceed the best in the world. At Pearson we have been working hard on developing new World Class Qualifications which deliver these standards and we will press on with this work in order to make a contribution to the new GCSEs outlined by Michael Gove today.

    "We also look forward to contributing to the debate on future accountability measures. For too long, accountability measures have risked capping our young people's aspirations and we look forward to the opportunity to help shape a better system."

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