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More recognition for vocational skills training on Fri 31st January, 2014

The government has announced that for the first time school league tables will have to demonstrate their pupils’ achievement in both ‘A’ levels and vocational training skills.

“It is great that training in traditional skills is once again being recognised as a valuable way of preparing the next generation for work,” said Will Davies – co-founder of aspect.co.uk and a long-term campaigner for apprenticeship and vocational training reform.

“I have believed for a long time that too many pupils were encouraged to study academically when they were more suited to vocational and on the job training,” said Mr Davies, whose company has returned to a traditional system of apprenticeships to train young workers.

In the past, schools and colleges have lumped together results from both academic and vocational qualifications. The first league tables for England to include these changes will be published this week.

A Department for Education spokesman said that the old system was, ‘confusing for parents and young people alike,’ and that ‘by reporting all qualifications in the same column, some schools and colleges have been able to hide behind good performance in, say, academic courses, while being weak in vocational qualifications’.

“We all know that this country cannot afford to have a quarter of all its young people out of work or training,” said Will Davies. “A shift back to valuing training in work skills that employers recognise and traditional apprenticeships has to be a step in the right direction.”

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed this week that more than a quarter of graduates are actually earning less than school leavers who followed vocational training courses or apprenticeships.

The ONS also said that 26% of low paid graduates found themselves working in part-time jobs, which compared to 11% of those who had followed vocational training.

The former Labour minister Frank Field said: “Successive generations of young people have been shoehorned into universities on the promise of improving their lifetime earnings. But, as well as being saddled with eye-watering levels of debt, more than a quarter of them now work in part-time roles earning lower wages than workers with an apprenticeship under their belt.

“Politicians need to sit up and take note of these shifting patterns. We need to encourage more young people to think hard about the best ways of achieving their goals in life. The Government must call for a major rethink on the present pattern of university education and set in hand a working party to take the debate on from these crucial breakthrough statistics.”

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John Price, Hillgrove PR.

Hillgrove PR

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E. john.price@6hillgrove.com