Career Colleges help 14-19 year olds take the next step to a fulfilling career by equipping them with the skills and experience they need to succeed. This innovative concept brings together employers and Further Education (FE) colleges to increase the range and choice of vocational options for young people; while at the same time, addressing the growing skills gaps many businesses are facing.

Improving the quality of technical and vocational education in this country is something I have been working hard to do for many years.

Snobbery killed off our technical schools in the 1950s and vocational pathways were very much seen as a route for the ‘less academically able’. This has led to a severe skills shortage in the UK – a problem which is only going to get worse over the next ten years.

We need to act in order to protect our economy and I am pleased to say that finally, things are beginning to change. This is largely thanks to the development of some high quality vocational options for 14-19 year olds within our education system, which include Career Colleges, University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools.

I launched the concept of Career Colleges in October 2013 and we now have a network around the country, specialising in a variety of industries from Hospitality to Digital Technology. Crucially, the specialist vocational training is underpinned with solid academic teaching in core subjects like maths and English, ensuring students receive a well-rounded education.

We have huge support from industry – with employers getting involved in both the design and the delivery of the curriculum. As a result, Career College students are being equipped with relevant, real world skills, which is of benefit to both them and to UK industry as a whole.

I am delighted to see our Career College network growing, providing opportunities for young people and helping businesses to grow. I look forward to seeing further growth and success over the coming years.

Lord Kenneth Baker
Former Education Secretary
Trustee and Founder of the Career College Trust
Chairman of the Edge Foundation and Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust