A wide ranging series of six policy steps which aim to raise the status of technical, practical and vocational learning in the UK

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Ros Lucas

Sounds fantastic, but without a consistent programme of planning based on research, knowledge and understanding of the variety of options and job roles available in the various sectors of industry, informed future choices will not be possible. Listening to Alison Wolf at a recent Education and Employers Taskforce presentation, I agree with her that it is from the age of 14 and Edge, that we should try to ensure that all youngsters are given access to a variety of work places, whether this is as part of a work experience, work shadowing or voluntary work. For many students in schools, especially if we do not carry on with the same format of 7 - 11 subject exams, it will be possible to allow a day to undertake research, which can be accredited as work-related learning so that they are able to gain the knowledge and understanding, from which they are likely to make much better and more informed choices for their future. More can be said but sufficident for now..... Ros Lucas BEd MA Voc Ed & Training, now Careers/Education Consultant

John Willis

These are great principles, - shouldn't there be another one though about all young people receiving independent and comprehensive careers advice?

Georgina Evans, Careers & Employability Advisor

As a careers advisor in a college, I interview many young people coming from school who have had no careers guidance at all and very little or no work related learning. They are ill equipped to make informed decisions about there future and it is surprising what can be achieved in a one hour careers interview to help that individual to know where to start to research, to think about themselves and also what they would like from work. They then at least have a more strategic approach to making decisions about their future. In my opinion this should be taking place on a regular basis from year 9 onwards. This would help individuals to become managers of their own career development.

Michael Boase

Yes, it sounds fantastic. But academic qualifications are all well and good but they only prove a person has been able to control their anxieties to sit and pass a written exam. There are very many different elements involved when making the transition from schooling/education in to holding down a job. For instance, 'emotional intelligence' skills enable individuals to acquire skills to (1) effectively make the transition and (2) to manage themselves as they work amongst their work colleagues. But first, youngsters need to have the skills to undertake the 'job interviewing' process hence our 'digital interactive simulation' programs providing a 40% greater chance for success. Vocational and manual jobs should not be viewed as the 'bottom end' of jobs. They are desperately needed and many 'trades' are desperately short of applicants. Oftentimes youngsters aspire to the unattainable and become disenfranchised when they struggle. And 'trades apprenticeships and jobs' are surprisingly very well paid in many sectors.

Brian Craven

What young - and not so young - people need in the North is access to jobs. We have some of the best Primary education in the UK and some of the worst levles of aspiration and success at secondary level. Lack of access to job opportunities, leads to demotivation, leads to the young dis-engaging from their education. The few that can succeeed, leave for jobs in other regions and countries. The majority can't do that. There new class system is those who have job prospects and those who don't.


We need to change school inspection/league tables and the value attributed to skills learning as part of the curriculum in order to achieve this. A small isolated comprehensive school can no longer offer even vocational GCSEs because of the way the curriculum is now skewed to undervalue these skills and because the Average Point score per pupil militates against this unless pupils are scoring very highly (which students with a more skills orientated bent often don't do).

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