EAL qualifications for NEETs will plug industry skills gaps

Posted on 18 Jul 2012 by Hazel Jeffs

New qualifications announced by industry awarding body EAL are set to develop vital skills for industry and boost the prospects of 16-24 year olds not in employment, education or training.

There are now almost a million 16-24 year olds not in employment, education or training (NEETs) in the UK, a fact which has prompted EAL to develop a suite of ‘gateway to industry’ foundation qualifications.

These qualifications are designed to allow young people to re-enter education within a framework which develops economic productivity.

The qualifications aim to provide a route to further education and, ultimately, to work in the manufacturing and engineering sector. This sector will require 170,000 new recruits in the next five years if it is to remain internationally competitive and help rebalance the UK economy according to EAL owner organisation, Semta.

These level 1 qualifications allow colleges and training providers to develop learners’ self-management and interview preparation techniques.  The qualifications also focus on health and safety awareness as well as basic engineering, manufacturing, electrical or plumbing skills.

The qualifications encourage the formation of partnerships with local jobcentres to aid those affected by the jobs crisis and short courses and summer programmes are also offered to make the qualification flexible.

Ann Watson, managing director of EAL said, the qualifications are intended to give anyone “the practical and employability skills to make a successful start to their journey into further education and work.”

The qualifications are designed as a stepping stone to full-time programmes, including level 2 qualifications or apprenticeships, by preparing and motivating learners for the experience of work-based learning as well as by simply helping them achieve an industry recognised qualification to help learners stand out from the crowd of applicants.

Explaining why employers should find the new qualification suite beneficial Ms Watson stated, “Economic worries mean businesses are under pressure to stay competitive. So they are looking for employees who already have certain basic skills and qualities and will be able to contribute from day one.”