Apprenticeship programmes should last three years and be as demanding as A-levels, a report argues. Programmes which are shorter or at a lower level should be called something else, say authors from the Policy Exchange think tank. The report calls for a high quality technical and vocational education to be available to pupils as young as 14. This is from the BBC…
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “We strongly agree that vocational education needs transforming.”
The report, Technical Matters, says that the government’s increasing focus on academic skills, while welcome, “may not work to the advantage of all students in the education system”.
“There are some for whom an alternative route with a greater emphasis on practical and applied learning may better meet their needs.”
It says that too many students who would be better suited to technical or vocational training are being encouraged to take A-levels, with recent research suggesting almost a third of sixth-formers drop out.
The authors draw on the 2011 Wolf review which called for a radical shake-up of vocational education, saying that too many vocational courses had little or no labour market value and would not lead to university or a job.
They also cite entrepreneur Doug Richard who has called for apprenticeships that genuinely train people in a new role.
The report calls for better and more independent educational and careers advice for pupils as young as 14, new funding arrangements to dissuade sixth forms from “retaining students who would benefit from technical or vocational education” and a new TechBacc or VocBacc as an alternative to the Ebacc for technically minded GCSE students.
It also calls for employers to be involved formally in technical and vocational education to ensure that what is taught is relevant and useful in the workplace. It also says high quality apprenticeships should be available to pupils from the age of 14.
It urges the government “to send clear signals to employers and potential trainees about the value and nature of apprenticeship”.