Why are they important? Why do we need them?
The skills gap is evident in the UK and there are high levels of youth unemployment. People with outstanding vocational and practical abilities are vital to our economy.
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 at 16, two thirds of students in full time education take some kind of vocational subject.
By specialising in a vocational area relevant to the local labour market, Career Colleges help 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 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 learn 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 will develop the wider employability skills which employers rate so highly.
Combining academic and vocational studies in this way has been proven to work. It’s the popular choice for huge numbers of young people in Austria, Switzerland and Germany – and as a result, their youth unemployment is far lower than almost anywhere in the world, including England. It’s easy to see why.
Career Colleges are set in context of a further education sector, which is able to respond to local needs by determining the right offer and the most appropriate delivery model to meet those needs.