Lord Baker to announce plans to open 25 ‘career colleges’ in push to train 14 to 19-year-olds

The Independent is reporting that 25 “career colleges” are to be opened across the country to give teenagers a taste of the world of work from the age of 14.

The colleges are being set up by former Education Secretary Lord (Kenneth) Baker in an effort to prepare young people for practical careers – while addressing the country’s shortage of key skills.  In an interview with The Independent, Lord Baker revealed a network of 25 will be opened within four years. Currently, two are up and operational.

The colleges are designed to train 14 to 19-year-olds in a range of occupational subjects including digital technology, construction, catering, engineering and health care.

“The idea is to recruit at the age of 14 people who would be interested in going into this kind of work,” he said. “This would create a pathway towards developing the skills the country so badly needs.”

The colleges are the latest focus of Lord Baker’s drive improve technical and vocational education. He has already set up 17 University Technical Colleges – new institutions offering students the opportunity to learn high quality skills in a range of industries including engineering and business skills.

Unlike UTCs, the new career colleges will be established within existing further education colleges…

More at: Lord Baker to announce plans to open 25 ‘career colleges’ in push to train 14 to 19-year-olds


Do you like the sound of these career colleges being created by Lord Baker?

In the full article Lord Baker also describes how he sees UTCs and career colleges as a way of creating “by stealth” an education system in which pupils transfer to their choice of secondary schooling at the age of 14 (as happens in a number of other European countries). Would this be a welcome development?

Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. FE colleges already provide vocational education – have done for decades.  But the FE sector’s funding has been cut.  
    Lord Baker first mooted the idea of career colleges in 2013 – didn’t go down too well at the DfE (or anywhere else I suspect).  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/10/is-the-dfe-losing-enthusiasm-for-utcs/

  2. Great idea but as UTCs will they be used by schools as a dumping ground for under achieving or difficult students?  UTCs are struggling with this.  In my region they are having to foot the bill for Alternative Provision on students passed on to them at yr 10.

    Possible welcome benefit to FE Colleges if money flows from Edge.

  3. IdeasCollege

    brighton118 SchoolsImprove Yes many have problems but JCB and Wigan UTCs to name just 2 I know of are performing exceedingly well.

  4. Simon Foster

    They will be used as a dumping ground for disaffected pupils and for those who schools do not want on their school role.

    A good idea in principle but I know the type of children that will be referred

  5. HGourlayUEA

    GeoffreyPetty sebschmoller This is why more political consensus (& perhaps less political dictating) would be a good thing.

  6. sebschmoller

    .HGourlayUEA GeoffreyPetty Yes. And why “historically central” role of FE needs to be acknowledged and restored.

  7. GeoffreyPetty

    sebschmoller HGourlayUEA Yes! Establishmnt doesn’t get FE yet complains of skills shortage. Anyone know MPs who studied or taught in FE?

  8. sebschmoller

    GeoffreyPetty HGourlayUEA Sajid Javid / Filton College; Matthew Hancock / West Cheshire College. To name two. There are others.

  9. JayDerrickIOE

    GeoffreyPetty sebschmoller HGourlayUEA Is David Blunkett still an MP? He taught in FE, presumably in Sheffield

  10. sebschmoller

    JayDerrickIOE GeoffreyPetty HGourlayUEA House of Lords now. He stood down in May. He taught at Barnsley College till ~1983, say.

  11. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove Kenneth Baker!! I thought he was dead. Thanks for stealing 5 days of our holidays Ken and calling them INSET Days.

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