Government Reveals Reforms for Technical Education
The Government has released a Post-16 Skills Plan today (8 July) which outlines the future of vocational education, with 16-year-olds being offered the choice of either an academic or a technical pathway to pursue.
It follows the release of the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, the outcome of the panel led by Lord Sainsbury which was tasked with reviewing the state of technical education and delivering recommendations for how it can be made fit for purpose.
The recommendations put forward by the panel, which the Government plans to implement, include:
- At the age of 16, all learners will have a choice between an academic or a technical pathway to continue their education
- Technical education will be streamlined to create a common framework of 15 routes which group occupations according to their shared training requirements
- Employers will taking a leading role in determining the knowledge, skills and assessment methods for qualifications
- Technical options will include college-based and employment-based (apprenticeship) education
- The Institute for Apprenticeships will become the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and will regulate quality across all technical education
- There will be an open competitive process to grant licences for one approved technical level qualification per occupational area
- Young people not ready to access either route at the age of 16 can access up to a year of tailored and flexible support suited to their aspirations
- Every student on a college-based technical route will be required to complete a work placement in their second year
- Each programme will include English, maths and digital skills, and the Institute for Apprenticeships will develop “common workplace skills” to apply across all routes
- There will be a register of Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications eligible for public subsidies and Government-funded loans for each of the 15 routes
- Local areas will determine which of the 15 routes providers should focus on offering to meet local skills demands
Paul Eeles, Chief Executive of the Skills and Education Group, comprising emfec, said:
“The publication of the Post-16 Skills Plan could not be more timely and we welcome the initiative to raise standards across qualifications and ensure they provide learners with the knowledge and skills they need to forge successful technical and professional careers.
“Vocational and academic qualifications are different in nature, and are designed to meet the varied needs of learners. We hope that these reforms will enable vocational pathways to be given the recognition deserved of the hardworking students, tutors and institutions who support the skill development of our many industries across the country.
“While the report is certainly a step in the right direction, we hope that we will see further clarity emerge over the course of this Parliament, in terms of understanding the role and expectation of our colleges, training providers and employers in delivering and developing the ambition of the report and we look forward to engaging with the Government and the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education.”
The reforms are expected to begin over the next six years, with the first teaching of all routes taking place between 2020 and 2022. The Institute for Apprenticeships will begin operating in April 2017, taking the title of Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in April 2018. Reformed functional skills qualifications will be taught from September 2018, with the procurement process for new technical qualifications beginning a month later.
You can read the Government’s Post-16 Skills Plan in full here.