New work-based QCF NVQs have been developed for the print industry by print professionals. So will you be using them?
It’s been a long slog for those involved in their formulation, but the new GQA qualifications are now ready to roll. So is there a place for these work-based QCF NVQs within your print business? Given that they have been drawn-up by those who know the industry well, perhaps they should be.
“When GQA was asked to write the QCF qualifications for the print industry we formed a working group of training providers, colleges and the Print Qualifications Reform Group to provide insight and expertise into the development process. Our main aim was to develop relevant, work-based qualifications for the UK print industry and who better to contribute than print professionals who know the industry,” argues Sean Hayes, GQA's technical officer.
The outcome of this working group’s discussions is a set of qualifications (see panel) appropriate for all sizes and types of print company.
Working group member Jonathan Bray, managing director of training provider Learn2Print, says: “These qualifications have been designed to take into account the impact of digital technology across all the processes and to give employers the flexibility to tailor a programme for individual needs. The qualifications present a pathway to enable a learner to progress from Level 2 to Level 4 suiting the needs of all within print, regardless of age and experience.”
Training providers throughout the UK, including Learn2Print, are now starting to introduce the GQA print qualifications. These QCF NVQ’s are at both Level 2 and 3 and are module based, which means all participating candidates have specific modules which are mandatory to the qualification. On top of these the candidate/company tailor-makes the remainder of the programme to suit both individual and company needs. (Note that the Technical Certificate is designed to support the NVQ however, and stands alone as a qualification in it’s own right. Tutors use a range of learning methods, including online, and assess the results in various ways - assignments, questions and answers etc.) Each NVQ is broken down into all elements of the print workflow, from pre-press to post-press, and allows candidates to specialise in a chosen specialist area such as digital print.
These new QCF NVQ’s are designed to capture performance and measure competency on the job - effectively, hands on capability. They make up part of the Apprenticeship Framework (released July 2011) and can also be used by individuals not wishing to engage in a full apprenticeship programme.
The QCF NVQ’s are assessed by qualified and recognised assessors within the workplace, with the candidate asked to produce a portfolio of evidence to meet the standards and criteria laid down. (The Technical Certificate uses a range of methods, allowing the training centre - such as Learn2print - to implement assessment methods to suit individual and company needs.)
The cost of the courses depends on the changes being made for the new funding year. Apprenticeships at 16 – 19 currently receive full contribution and those 19+ are expected to contribute 50%. A typical NVQ can cost in the region of £2,500. (The Technical Certificate is costed independently, depending on the nature of how the training providers set out to deliver it.)
The NVQ is expected to take a new print candidate around 16 - 18 months to complete, but Bray believes an experienced person could achieve the qualification in seven months. (The Technical Certificate is very much down to the amount of study and the way it is delivered, however, it should fall within three years.)
All recognised and accredited training bodies are regularly monitored by bodies such as Ofsted etc. However, GQA (as an Approved Awarding Body) has a team of qualified external verifiers which regularly visit training centres up and down the country. Strict quality guidelines have to be met to remain an approved centre.
To find out more about these qualifications you can visit http://register.ofqual.gov.uk and search for 'GQA Print Qualifications' or contact GQA Qualifications www.GQAQualifications.com
The new qualifications are…
QA Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pre Press for Print (QCF) - 600/0608/0
GQA Level 2 NVQ Certificate In Machine Printing (QCF) - 600/0600/6
GQA Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Print Finishing (QCF) - 600/0599/3
GQA Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Print Administration (QCF) - 600/1743/0
GQA Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Digital Pre Press for Print (QCF) - 600/0609/2
GQA Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Machine Printing (QCF) - 600/0607/9