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GQA, GGF and FENSA Give Their Assessment

Hot on the heels of news that the Universities Minister believes the education system is too geared to directing young people onto courses that do nothing to prepare them for later life, a YouGov survey* commissioned by GQA Qualifications has revealed that parents tend to agree. The nationwide survey of just over 1,000 parents with school-age children has brought to light some fascinating insights into their current attitudes towards university attendance, vocational training, careers and qualifications, alongside their wider perception of the fenestration industry.

Over 60% of respondents agreed that for decades we have been recruiting too many young people onto university courses that do nothing to improve their life chances or help with their career goals. In addition, over 75% agreed that vocational training, careers and/or vocational qualifications could be beneficial to young people as an alternative career path to going to university.

For GQA, the fenestration industry’s leading awarding body, what the survey reveals about parents’ perceptions of the availability of advice about the vocational routes is particularly interesting. Only 24% believe there is sufficient advice readily available: a direct challenge for those who want to raise awareness of alternatives to further education.

Commenting on this point, Mick Clayton, GQA’s Chief Executive Officer said:

“I am concerned for young people for whom this country seems to be creating the ‘perfect storm’.  On the one hand we have an explosion in university courses from which neither young people nor society benefit. And on the other hand is a commonly held belief that advice concerning vocational routes is not readily available. We need to be doing more to tackle this situation. In the fenestration industry, business leaders need to get the message out there that help is at hand for young people, and that vocational training, careers and qualifications are viable alternatives to university for them.  This is one of the key roles for the Building Our Skills – Making Fenestration a Career of Choice campaign, and I would urge as many industry employers and other bodies as possible to support the work it is doing.

“I am, however, heartened by the survey revelation regarding how the fenestration industry is perceived by the parents questioned. Over half of respondents were not averse to their children one day entering this industry. I would hope that as the reputation of the industry continues to improve year on year, more and more parents would encourage their children down this route when they are of employable age. More parents taking part in the survey agreed with the idea of the fenestration industry being a potential career path for their child than those who did not. This is certainly welcome news.”

During a recent presentation of the YouGov survey results with Mick Clayton, representatives of the GGF and FENSA also gave their feedback. John Agnew, GGF Managing Director said:

“There is a perceived lack of value in the notion of ‘apprenticeships’ in modern society, compared with years gone by.  In the past an apprenticeship was a gateway to a successful career with progression and the appropriate rewards.  Today, it is often looked on as a means to access cheap labour, and is undervalued.  If we could address this and change the perception of apprenticeships then this would help us to attract more people to the industry as a career choice. Ultimately it would be great to have more legislation to improve standards in the industry.”

Chris Beedel, FENSA’s Director of Membership added:

“The need for a far-reaching careers service is demonstrated clearly by this survey.  Parents clearly support the vocational careers route, but do not have anywhere near enough information available to them to make informed decisions.  This is something we as an industry need to do more to support. We can all do more to raise awareness of the industry. It is why FENSA is so fully behind the BOS’s ‘Inspiring the Future’ campaign to send glass and glazing staff into schools to talk about the industry.  It is a positive move and one in which we encourage as many people as possible to get involved.”


Anda Gregory Managing Director, GGF Commercial who also sits on the GQA board as a FENSA representative said:


“There has been an issue since polytechnics started to become university campuses.  Parents clearly understand that not all children are academic and they value the vocational route.  The results of this survey demonstrate that clearly.”


More information on GQA is available at

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