People with outstanding vocational abilities are vital to our economy. Sadly, however, vocational education and training is often undervalued.
The Government has already put in place reforms to ensure that students can combine core academic subjects with high quality vocational qualifications from age 14 and study in colleges full time from that age. And at 16, two thirds of students in full time education take some kind of vocational subject. The introduction of Tech Levels and the post-16 Technical Baccalaureate Measure will ensure that from 2014 there will be high quality qualifications in place to enhance the post-16 vocational offer.
At the same time, many employers are keen to recruit motivated young people with relevant skills and experience backed by a broad education.
By specialising in a vocational area relevant to the local labour market, Career Colleges are helping to engage employers and give young people the chance to start a high quality level 2 vocational course at 14. If they choose to stay in that vocational area, they will then be ready to progress to a higher level of vocational learning at 16. This could put them ahead by a whole two years.
In addition, Career College students are learning through real-world challenges set and supported by employers. Coupled with work experience – both pre- and post-16 – and other links with local businesses, they develop the wider employability skills which employers rate so highly.