The role of further and higher education
This chapter outlines the present situation regarding Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) involvement in UK National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) relating to the environment. This primarily relates to the areas which have been developed by COSQUEC. At the time of writing there are two standards in operation with a further one in development (Turner 1995).
The following account will present a summary of the ‘assessment centres’ involved in environment NVQs developed by COSQUEC. A brief historic consideration of the role of the FE sector which is closely associated with NVQs in the environmental sector will review the advantages both have in assessing the standards and associated education. Consideration of the role of HE and examples of developments at Newcastle University will demonstrate the potential HE involvement in the NVQ system. An evaluation of the role of knowledge and understanding in assessing competencies will be discussed, with consideration of the wider role of professional involvement in NVQs, especially at the higher levels.
Figure 16.1 shows the most NVQ assessment centres located in the FE sector (82 per cent) for environmental NVQs. The industry organisations are only a small proportion of the total (16 per cent). The industrial organisations tend to be those organisations which have been historically involved in this training—the National Trust, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers