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New government proposal will lower training standards for UK spas

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The UK government is pushing through a proposal that will lower the level of qualification for training therapists from current NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) level to the new VRQ (Vocationally Related Qualification) level.

A VRQ is typically less demanding and quicker, with a pass mark of typically 66 per cent. An NVQ has a 100 per cent pass rate and requires practical assessment at a higher level. Because of this, many learning providers are opting to offer VRQ’s because they can award them more easily, achieve higher pass results and as they get paid on pass rates to a certain extent, they require less facilities and can make more profit turning out therapists at lower levels.

A statement from the UK Spa Association said: “One of the biggest challenges of the spa industry, if not the biggest, is recruiting qualified and capable professionals and, in particular, therapists.

“Our industry receives £2m of funding annually for 90,000 therapists. By comparison, the fitness industry receives £35m for just 40,000 fitness trainers.

“The migration of students coming out with VRQ’s will result in an inferior standard, many employers who already feel NVQ standards are not sufficient will be faced with therapists trained to an even lower standard in VRQ’s.”

For 2014/15 as many as 10,000 qualified individuals will be potentially trained to these lower standards.

The UK Spa Association believes this is largely due to the spa industry not having a united ‘one voice’ approach, so has proposed to partner with Habia – the government approved standards setting body for hair, beauty, nails and spa – to lobby government decision making bodies and also participate in forums on the standards.

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The government is pushing through a proposal that will lower the level of qualification for training therapists from current NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) level to the new VRQ (Vocationally Related Qualification) level.
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