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Government backs streamlined technical education


Minister of state for skills Nick Boles has presented a plan to Parliament for streamlined technical education.

Technical education will be streamlined into a common framework with 15 routes to replace the current system where students and employers are confronted with overlapping qualifications.

The reform is based on recommendations from the Sainsbury Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education. Lord Sainsbury’s report found that students face an unclear and confusing path towards a relevant qualification.

Young engineers can currently choose from 501 possible courses, according to the report.

“The new, employer-led Institute for Apprenticeships will regulate quality across apprenticeships and its remit will be expanded to cover all technical education. Routes will begin with high-quality, two-year, college-based programmes, aligned to apprenticeships. Within these programmes, we will put in place only one approved tech level qualification for each occupation or cluster of occupations,” the report stated.

The reform has been welcomed by Skanska, the Association of Colleges, and Fujitsu.

“Particularly welcome are the clear progression routes between technical and academic education as set out in the report, which means we can encourage young people to progress from apprenticeships to degree courses and vice versa. This will improve the level of practical skills and knowledge which employers so urgently need,” said Nigel Fine, chief executive of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

“The proposed reforms to provide opportunities for high-quality, structured work placements for students to gain much needed practical and technical skills will also greatly help in improving skills levels – helping to address the skills gap the industry now faces.”

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