The Open UniversitySkip to content

Implementing NVQs in small and medium enterprises : the experiences of candidates, assessors and managers in small residential care homes in the independent sector

Dunlop, Marion (1998). Implementing NVQs in small and medium enterprises : the experiences of candidates, assessors and managers in small residential care homes in the independent sector. PhD thesis. The Open University.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (16MB) | Preview
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The research study examines the implementation of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) within small and medium enterprises. NVQs have been in existence for ten years yet they continue to receive criticism from academic circles and implementation by employers has been slow.

The small residential care sector was selected because it has many characteristics in common with small businesses in general: the sector has grown because of recent care legislation; it is dependent on larger local authorities for client referrals; it employs mainly women on a part-time basis; and it lacks a traditional training pathway for unqualified staff.

Using a qualitative, case study approach, seven workplaces were visited over the period of a year. Candidates, assessors and managers were interviewed regularly to assess their feelings and progress and to determine the factors which affected their experiences of NVQ implementation. Four main areas were explored using a theme analysis framework - progress, progression, standardisation and financial issues.

The findings indicated that implementation in small workplaces was problematic for all involved. Unless a training culture was already in existence, insufficient resources were provided to support and facilitate progress both physically and emotionally. Consequently, assessors and candidates involved with NVQs were quite negative about their experiences which reduced the value placed on the qualification by the participants and their managers. Despite being a 'national' qualification, the growing deregulation in both care and training has resulted in market place competition which has had consequences for the standardisation and costs of training programmes. The voluntaristic nature of employer investment in training, and the lack of care legislation to make training an obligatory aspect of home registration, has resulted in a low uptake of NVQs in small businesses because of the costs involved in assessment time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: 1998 Marion Dunlop
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 57747
Depositing User: ORO Import
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2018 09:47
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2020 19:36
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU