Vocational and technical education has always provided a valuable way of providing people with the skills necessary for employment in key industry sectors.
Let’s look at the latest plans to support this vital area of technical education not just for young people but for adults too.
Cash injection for technical education
In next week’s budget an extra £500m per year to support vocational and technical education in England, students on technical courses will be able to access maintenance loans and grants and will have the opportunity to take part in quality work experience. This cash boost sits alongside the already existent plan to replace 13,000 qualifications with just 15 technical routes to choose from at age 16.
Why is the government investing £500m a year in technical education?
The answer is a short one – the UK has a mass of skills shortages which affect productivity and therefore the UK economy as a whole as well as making it difficult for employers to find workers who can do the job and people from finding employment. Following Brexit this is expected to get worse, because at the moment we fill skills gaps with workers from outside the UK and this is likely to become much more difficult post Brexit. You can read the full list of officially recognised UK skills shortages here – and it’s not a bad idea to read this if you want to see the kind of job that is likely to put you in demand as an employee if you have the skills to do it.
The addition of high-quality work experience, the requirement for which was removed in 2012 will be welcome by young people. We reported back in 2014 how the UK Youth Parliament had debated this very issue and young people felt very strongly that they not only wanted decent work experience but that it was necessary to provided them with skills that they could only get in the setting of the workplace.