LONDON, June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Small business bosses are crying out for new recruits with work-related skills, according to research released in the run up to VQ Day 2009, the national celebration of vocational achievement taking place on 24th June.

The research by independent education foundation Edge found that three-quarters (75 per cent) of people running small and medium enterprises (SMEs) feel there is a mis-match between young people's skills and the requirements of their organisation. Almost as many - 71 per cent - believe the job market contains too few people with vocational qualifications and practical skills, and two thirds believe every young person should study at least one vocational qualification at school.

SMEs say that new employees with vocational qualifications are better developed than recruits with academic qualifications in the vital areas of team working, business and customer awareness, attitude and enthusiasm, and self-management.

Andy Powell, chief executive of Edge, said: Employers recognise that vocational qualifications equip young people with the skills and experience they need to help make their businesses successful. There are many paths to success and helping young people develop work-related skills in school is just one step to ensuring we have the talent the UK needs.

Edge found that in the last year 58 per cent of SMEs funded or arranged training and development for their staff. Training in job specific skills is the most in demand (85 per cent), followed by communication skills (35 per cent), team working skills (33 per cent) and customer care skills (32 per cent).

Anne Tipple, National Skills Development Executive for the British Chambers of Commerce, added: Many SMEs are feeling the pinch of the recession and want to make sure their workforce is operating at an optimum level. Vocational qualifications have a huge impact on small businesses, and on 24th June employers around the country will join the VQ Day celebrations to highlight the benefits vocational qualifications bring to UK businesses.

Now is the perfect time to ensure that all our young people are getting the right kind of training to meet the needs of businesses and ensure the UK can accelerate out of the recession and continue to compete on a global level.

For more information about VQ Day, please visit

Notes to editors

Research was carried out by YouGov. Total sample size was 1,001 employers (senior managers and above responsible for recruitment), of whom 502 were SMEs. Fieldwork was undertaken in November 2008. The survey was carried out online.

Replies to the question Based on your experience of new employees, are those with academic qualifications or those with vocational qualifications better developed in terms of the following skills and attributes?

All SME owners/ Team Business Attitude and Self-management managers working and enthusiasm customer awareness Vocational 62% 56% 55% 42% Academic 13% 19% 15% 30% Don't know 26% 25% 30% 28%

About Edge

Edge is an independent education foundation. It is dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning, so that all young people have the opportunity to achieve their potential, and the UK's future workforce is equipped with the skills to be successful in the modern economy. Edge believes that 'learning by doing' is as important as academic learning, and that there are many paths to success.

About VQ Day - 24 June 2009

* Millions of people will gain a vocational qualification this year that will be the stepping stone to a brighter future. VQ Day celebrates this achievement and the many paths to success taken by learners of all ages.

* Plans for VQ Day are being led by Edge, the education foundation, in conjunction with the vocational qualifications community including: the Association of Colleges (AoC), the Association of Learning Providers (ALP), Association of Scotland's Colleges, Alliance Sector Skills Scotland, City Guilds, Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI), Department for Business, Innovation Skills (DBIS), Ealing, Hammersmith West London College, Edexcel, EDI, the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB), the FE Reputation Strategy Group (FERSG), fforwm, the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM), Learning and Skills Council (LSC), National Training Federation for Wales, Ofqual, Ofqual Northern Ireland, OCR, Scottish Government, Scottish Qualifications Authority, Scottish Training Federation (STF), Skills Development Scotland, Qualifications Curriculum Authority (QCA), and the Welsh Assembly Government among others.

* VQ Day 2009 was launched at a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons on 4 March and the Day itself will take place nationwide on 24 June 2009. A national celebration event will be held in London to showcase the diversity of vocational success, accompanied by a report examining the vocational qualifications landscape in the country. Local and regional events will also be staged to ensure that VQ Day helps raise the profile, and communicate the value, of vocational qualifications to future students, potential employers and the wider public.

* A roll call of vocational success has been established online, with all learners past and present invited to add their name to the list of people across the UK who have gained a vocational qualification. In addition, two national 'VQ Heroes' will be recognised on VQ Day, selected from regional winners across the country. To find out more visit

For more information or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson from Edge or the BCC, please contact: Heather Wilson, Zoe Penn or Andy Wray at Band Brown Communications: +44-207-419-6950,

For more information or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson from Edge or the BCC, please contact: Heather Wilson, Zoe Penn or Andy Wray at Band Brown Communications: +44-207-419-6950,