The Edge Foundation has warmly welcomed the report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility published today (8 April 2016).
Edge’s Chief Executive, Alice Barnard, said:
The Social Mobility Committee is absolutely right. The inequality between academic and vocational education is unfair, restricts social mobility and does not meet the UK’s economic needs. Despite making up the majority of the future workforce, young people who take some form of vocational education when they leave school receive much less attention and investment than students who take A levels and go to university.
We support the Committee’s recommendation to stop the national curriculum at 14 and enable students to transfer to a core 14-19 curriculum with tailor-made academic or vocational options. Edge has long supported University Technical Colleges, Studio Schools and Career Colleges which already blend a core academic curriculum with technical specialisms, creating clear pathways for students into apprenticeships, higher education or work.
Technical and vocational pathways have been held in low regard for too long, despite providing the practical experience and soft skills employers are crying out for. We need the ‘gold standard’ careers advice the Committee calls for to inform young people about all the options available to them so they can make good decisions about their future. The Edge Foundation’s Career Footsteps campaign makes it possible for young people to hear directly from people who’ve followed the vocational path to success.
The UK faces a significant skills shortage in areas such as manufacturing, engineering and construction. We can only meet that challenge by providing our young people with a 21stcentury education for a 21st century economy.
Read the full report here.