Theresa May outlines vision for vocational education

Prime Minister calls for a review of sky high University tuition fees, backs greater emphasis on vocational education and promoted technical qualifications at a major speech on education policy in Derbyshire

by News Reporter on 19 February 2018 12:08

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The Prime Minister today called for a review of University tuition fees and funding, conceding that the UK has some of the highest costs for higher education in the world. Speaking at a press conference in Derbyshire, Theresa May unveiled a string of new proposals, including a call for more focus on supporting students who choose vocational qualifications.

Mrs May said she was challenging the "outdated attitude" towards technical qualifications, saying many graduates with academic degrees end up questioning their value relative to the size of the debt accrued at the end of the course. Among the proposals is a call for better career guidance for students seeking technical qualifications.

Mrs May said, “For those young people who do not go on to academic study, the routes into further technical and vocational training today are hard to navigate, the standards across the sector are too varied and the funding available to support them is patchy. So now is the time to take action to create a system that is flexible enough to ensure that everyone gets the education that suits them”

Industry experts welcomed the focus on technical training. Sheila Flavell, Chief Operating Officer, FDM Group said, “With UK businesses crying out for candidates with the latest digital skills, there has never been a better time to promote the need for vocational education and technical qualifications. It’s also time to recognise the benefits of life-long learning, by supporting returner candidates who have taken a career break with proper training and support, enabling them to re-enter the world of work.

Building a more diverse workforce that encompasses the talents of people from all backgrounds is critical to the future of our economy. That’s why we need an education system that can enable the next generation to thrive in an increasingly digital world,” she added.

Meanwhile Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive, Young Enterprise said, “Building a more diverse education system that promotes technical qualifications and life skills is critical to the future of the next generation. It’s time to stop judging the talents of young people on academic exam results alone and instead look at driving up soft skills and promoting entrepreneurialism in the classroom.

UK businesses are crying out for a new generation of employees that are fully equipped with the right skills and attitudes, including digital skills. These new proposals will help young people navigate, with confidence, towards a route that best suits their skill set and career journey,” he concluded.

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