A new report published this week by the think tank IPPR says Britain needs stronger and better quality vocational education. The report describes the “focus by successive governments on expanding higher education, with relatively little attention paid to vocational education and training, or the way that firms demand and use skills in the workplace” as “tunnel-vision”. Crucially, it concludes that that there will be strong growth in occupations that rely heavily on vocational courses and qualifications – and that the courses and qualifications taken by young people need to better match the needs of employers.
IPPR insists that the Government should develop alternative pathways from education into work that do not rely on general undergraduate degrees and are more tailored to the needs of the jobs market. IPPR has proposed expanding higher-level vocational education as a means for people to transition from school into work, through measures such as higher-level apprenticeships, employer-sponsored courses and the creation of more polytechnic-style institutions. The Government will argue it is already doing this.
Alice from Whitehouse: Given IPPR is a centre-left think tank with close ties to the current Labour leadership, this report is of particular significance in terms of the impact it could have on Labour’s 2015 manifesto.