Shaping the qualifications landscape

Event brings together employers, trailblazer groups and others to discuss the current qualifications landscape and the changes under way.

Ofqual is today (Tuesday 21 November) hosting an event for stakeholders to learn more about England’s vocational and technical qualifications landscape. Around 90 representatives from employers, trailblazer groups, training providers and educational associations and organisations are attending the symposium at the Royal Society in London. The event aims to raise awareness and understanding of the qualifications landscape, gather feedback from attendees on their use of qualifications and discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with reform. Ofqual is particularly keen to describe and discuss how regulation can potentially best support them.

Sally Collier said:

We want employers to be confident that vocational and technical qualifications meet their needs, and those of their employees. We are already supporting those aims through the experience and expertise we bring to regulation. Today’s event provides another opportunity for us to listen to what users of qualifications have to say, and ensure that they are right at the forefront of shaping the new landscape.

Alongside today’s event, we are releasing a range of reports and guidance. These include findings from a review of nearly 100 apprenticeship assessment plans, which we have written to help current and future trailblazers develop these important documents. Another identifies the factors that contribute to the effective functioning of assessments through a review of 27 vocational and technical qualifications found in performance tables. A further document reports on how Applied General qualifications are viewed and used by stakeholders. Together, they provide a set of resources to help inform the effective development of new vocational and technical qualifications.

We are also launching the prototype of a new interactive tool today to help everyone navigate the current qualifications landscape. This innovative way of visualising data makes our register of regulated qualifications more accessible and easier to explore.

Two thirds of workers too embarrassed to talk about their mental health issues

Research finds nearly two-thirds of employees feel embarrassed about disclosing information on the state of their mental health with their employer.

New research from CV-Library shows nearly two thirds (60.2 per cent) of employees feel embarrassed about disclosing information on the state of their mental health with their employer. What’s more, 60.8 per cent feel they cannot talk about it with their boss.

The report explores the views of 1,200 UK workers and found that a third of professionals (31.7 per cent) feel that their workplace is not supportive of mental health, with a further 77.8 per cent believing that the majority of workplaces in the UK are unsupportive. Other key findings from the research include:

Nearly two thirds (64.2 per cent) of workers fear their employer would judge them if they spoke about their mental health issues, with a further 46.8 per cent worrying that doing so will make them look weak. One third (36.7 per cent) fear that they would get fired if they told their boss about their mental health issues. What’s more, 63 per cent said that they would feel guilty taking time off work for mental health reasons

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments, ‘Mental health in the workplace continues to be a hot topic, and this is because it is clearly not being dealt with effectively. We are a nation that is under more pressure than ever before and it’s therefore unsurprising that people will be feeling the effects whilst at work.

‘Businesses should prioritise creating a culture where openness and honesty are encouraged. In turn, this will ensure that workers feel comfortable confiding in their boss, making coming to work that little bit less stressful.’

With 70.7 per cent of workers admitting that their mental health issues impact their working life, it’s clear that employers need to do more to help make the working day easier for people. When asked what measures they thought employers should introduce to help combat mental health in the workplace, respondents cited the following:

1. Promote a healthy work/life balance (38.6 per cent)
2. Create an environment where mental health is not stigmatised (15 per cent)
3. Refer employees to a counselling service (13.7 per cent)
4. Talk more openly about mental health (11.9 per cent)
5. Allow employees to take time out when they need to (8.6 per cent)

In addition, 83.6 per cent say they think employers should offer ‘mental health days’, in which employees are encouraged to take time out to look after their health, with a further 78 per cent stating that they would be more likely to work for a company that offered ‘mental health days’.

Biggins continues, ‘While losing out on staff temporarily may ring alarm bells for employers, it can actually help in the long run. Mental health should be dealt with in the same way as any other illness and it’s important to offer your employees time off should they need it. There are plenty of avenues to go down, and it’s imperative that you get it right. Otherwise, you could risk losing your employees altogether.’