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Well-run NVQ schemes bring very real benefits

LETTERS

Sir, We concur with your anonymous correspondent, ('NVQs should be run for the industry, not verifiers', Letters, January 6) in that it is the industry and not awarding bodies or their verifiers that should run NVQ programmes. After all, these NVQ standards were developed by this industry, for this industry.

But to be so derogatory to NVQs and the very real benefits they bring is extraordinary. Any decline in the number of people being attracted into the industry cannot be blamed on these programmes.

As a UK-wide employer in this sector, Cemex's experience is that the whole image of the industry needs an overhaul, as do the working practices.

If new entrants are put off because of some competence requirements, then we are not convinced you would want them working for you anyhow. It is fair to say that in any job of responsibility, the demonst rat ion of competence is paramount.

Also worthy of recognition is that many NVQ achievers have contributed to everincreasing health and safety requirements, resulting in fewer accidents and incidents in a cost-effective manner. Over the past five years, accident rates have fallen by 52 per cent in the quarrying sector under the HSE's Hard Targets initiative.

As a paying customer, any NVQ provider has a responsibility to effectively 'upwardly manage' its awarding bodies.

Alarmingly your correspondent seems to intimate that his training firm has not been doing this, thus condoning for a number of years what would normally be classed as poor practice.

If the verifiers do not have the correct occupational expertise in the industry then the centre should refuse them access.

Of course, where verifiers do not have the occupational experience as required, centres should demand they undertake documented and relevant continuing professional development and training to suit.

Our extensive experience is that wellrun NVQ assessment processes are transparent from top to bottom, offer excellent rigour without rigidity and make a real difference.

Simon Elsy and Jonathan Ledger Occupational Training Managers Cemex (UK) Operations Egham, Surrey

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