New system with clearer routes to technical careers


Plans for reforms to technical and professional education (TPE), which will set England’s system on a par with the best in the world have been announced.

The reforms will focus on simplifying the currently over-complex system, working in direct partnership with employers to ensure the new system provides the skills most needed for the 21st-century economy.

The new system will help more young people get a fair shot in life by giving them the right skills and a clearer route through education, and help them get an apprenticeship as soon as they are able, said Skills Minister, Nick Boles.

The government has already stripped out thousands of low-quality qualifications which were not valued by employers from league tables, following a report from Professor Alison Wolf.

As a result, more than 3,000 worthless courses like marzipan modelling and balloon artistry were removed. For the next stage, the government will learn from some of the best systems around the world to put in place a small number of clear and high-quality routes.

Compared to other countries, technical and professional education is still too complex, confusing young people and failing to adequately deliver the employees of the future that business needs. Students aiming for a future in plumbing, for example, are not presented with a clear route into the job but with a bewildering selection of 33 qualifications to choose from.

Up to 20 specific new professional and technical routes will be created, leading up to employment or degree-level study, which will be as easy to understand as academic routes.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “We want to help all working people be more productive and secure better wages - to do this, we need to help them improve their skills.

“We want to help young people gain relevant skills by offering them technical and professional courses that are focused on a specific career. High-quality technical and professional education for 16- to 19-year-olds is the key."