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Case Studies


VQ Day 2008 PR campaign

VQ Day 2008 PR campaign

Best practice from Band and Brown.


Every year we are used to seeing TV pictures of A-level and GCSE students celebrating (or commiserating) their results, but there has never been one national day of celebration for the millions of people who gain a vocational qualification.  VQ Day was launched by independent education foundation Edge to create such a celebration.


• To create a day that would, for the first time bring together learners, colleges, employers, awarding organisations, the media and the general public to recognise vocational learning achievement
• To raise the profile of vocational qualifications and change public perception of the value of vocational qualifications


• Our approach was to work with stakeholders to create a sense of ownership behind VQ Day and encourage as many organisations as possible to support the day
• Partners were provided with all the materials they needed to get involved,  under the central message ‘you’ve earned it, get involved’
• A proactive three month campaign drove all traffic to the VQ Day website, leading up to VQ on 23rd July when organisations and individuals across the country joined the celebrations

Method deployed

We created the concept of VQ Day, designed the brand and collateral, and recruited advocate organisations to support the day.  A number of campaign ‘hooks’ were developed to create additional opportunities to revisit the media and activity culminated with a flagship event at London’s Royal Opera House on 23 July.  The following steps brought the concept to life:


• The VQ Day website was at the heart of the campaign and attracted more than 650 unique visitors per week
• Collateral was developed including posters, leaflets and a PR toolkit which was downloaded by 471 people
• A roll of honour was established on the website, which has attracted almost 1000 signatures
• A national advertising campaign complemented media activity with advertisements appearing in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Independent and Metro


• Secured cross-party support and launched VQ Day at the House of Commons on 23 April, attracting over 250 dignitaries and 60 MPs.  An Early Day Motion was issued to MPs encouraging them to support VQ Day with 66  signatories
• Organised the flagship event at the Royal Opera House in London, involving demonstrations from nine learning providers including York College, Lewisham College, UMI Hotels, Jaguar LandRover and the Academy of Contemporary Music
• Recruited Alesha Dixon to host the London event and secured the attendance of over 250 people including Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills, John Denham and his political shadows David Willetts and Stephen Williams
• More than 50 schools, colleges and workplaces held their own VQ Day events, including awards ceremonies and skills showcases
• Worked with fforwm and the National Training Federation Wales to host an event at the Royal Welsh Show, addressed by Deputy Skills Minister John Griffiths
• Secured support from CBI, British Chambers of Commerce, TUC, Association of Teachers and Lecturers and UVAC among others

Media relations

• A national features and news campaign secured coverage across print, broadcast and online including BBC Breakfast, Radio Five Live, BBC Midlands, ITV Central, BBC Online, Guardian Unlimited, The Financial Times, That’s Life, Bliss
• Template press releases were distributed to partners and stakeholders to ensure regional and trade coverage
• News stories were issued including the first report of its kind to explore the VQ landscape; the independent report found 3.25m vocational qualificaiotns were awarded in 2007
• 580 pieces of coverage appeared including: Six television, 143 online, 173 national and regional print, 15 national magazines, 28 radio

Evaluation and measurement

Coverage generated during the campaign delivered:
• 98,812,890 opportunities to see coverage of VQ Day
• An advertising equivalent of £2,263,410
• 98 per cent of coverage delivered at least one key message

Benchmark tracking research was carried out by independent market research company YouGov.

The main findings show:
• Over half of people (51 percent) agree that vocational qualifications are as valuable as GCSES and A-levels – up from 44 per cent before VQ Day
• One in five adults (18 per cent) had heard one of the VQ Day national news stories
• Almost one in ten people (7 per cent) had heard of VQ Day

Relation to objectives and cost-effectiveness

In just six months, VQ Day succeeded in laying a marker in the sand for future years to build on.  The campaign delivered a return on investment of £20.58 in its inaugural year and VQ Day 2009 looks set to be bigger and better with additional partners recruited to increase campaign reach. 

Creativity/Originality and category specific criteria

VQ Day is the UK’s first celebration day to celebrate vocational achievement.  Edge is an independent education foundation dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning.

Through its work on VQ Day Edge has uniquely brought together the vocational qualifications community to raise awareness of those who celebrate vocational success and those who help them achieve that success.  The campaign has secured support from a variety of organisations and partners and helped to raise the profile of Edge, the value of vocational qualifications and the belief that there are many paths to success.

"Vocational qualifications are important because they're practical. The knowledge and skills they give people can be used immediately at work. That's why employers value them just as much as academic qualifications,” said John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills.

“This first-ever VQ Day is a welcome opportunity to celebrate the hard work that millions of people put into getting them every year.”

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