New research highlights the importance businesses are placing on vocational qualifications to lead them out of the current climate

New research from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) reveals that three out of four employers (71%) see staff with vocational skills as essential in improving the long-term competitiveness of their business. However, with one quarter (29%) of UK adults failing to declare their training on their CVs, a potential gap in communicating these skills to employers is emerging.

Further evidence that employers are placing an increased emphasis on practical qualifications is demonstrated by one third (37%) of employees with vocational qualifications being rewarded with a higher salary. In addition, 71% of the workforce surveyed agreed that in the current climate employees holding vocational qualifications may be better suited in than those with university degrees. This sentiment is further echoed with almost three quarters of employees (72%) finding their vocational qualifications to be of more benefit now than ever before.

Despite the value that these qualifications attract, one in five (18%) of the workforce surveyed that hold vocational qualifications, can’t remember what certificates they own. In CIEH certificates alone, this means that as many as 1.6 million UK employees are missing out on the uplift in learning potential that vocational training provides.

In response, the CIEH today launches the CIEH Lost Certificate Service, a free certificate replacement service to help UK jobseekers holding its vocational qualifications to attract their full value. All people need to do is visit to to request a free replacement certificate, for any CIEH qualification they have achieved.

Des Hancox, a director of the CIEH, comments: “Job seekers who can see the value of vocational qualifications are one step ahead in today’s employment market. The research demonstrates that businesses are placing more value in vocational qualifications, particularly in the current climate and are already recognising that this sort of investment will be a key facet in helping the UK economy in the long-term. We have therefore launched this initiative to help the UK unemployed add value to their job seeking prospects and realise their full potential.”

In addition, the CIEH is encouraging other awarding bodies to consider similar certificate amnesty schemes to ensure Britain’s millions of forgotten qualifications are reclaimed.

The research also underlines a worrying trend that with vocational qualifications most prevalent amongst individuals aged over 45 years, Britain’s ageing population will be taking their talents and insight into retirement over the next ten to twenty years. The research shows:

  • Baby Boomers (aged 45+) hold the most vocational qualifications with 35% holding one or more relevent qualifications.
  • 75% of Gen X (aged 35 to 44), place more relevance on vocational qualifications in the current economic climate in comparison to university degrees.
  • 86% of Gen Y (aged 16 to 34) sees the provision of vocational training as a means of helping people back into the workplace yet only 21% hold relevant qualifications – the least within each of the age categories.