Education Secretary Gavin Williamson with Jack Goodrum, WorldSkills Team UK carpenter

Today (14 Aug) is this year’s vocational results day for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“This week is the culmination of years of hard work for thousands of young people. It is right that their efforts are celebrated across the country as well as on the front pages – but getting a good set of A levels and then a degree is only half the story.

“As the first Education Secretary to personally take charge of further education and skills, I’m going to make sure that those people who opt to take a technical or vocational qualification are given the proper recognition for their hard work.

“Some people will be getting their technical and vocational results today – and from next year, students finishing their GCSEs will be able to take one of our new T Levels as a high-quality technical course that will carry the same UCAS points equivalent to 3 of our world-class A levels.

“Young people and their parents can be confident that T Levels will be just as stretching as their academic equivalents and will offer progression to the next level whether that is landing a great job, an apprenticeship or going on to do a degree. As the technical ‘gold standard’ option for young people post-16, T Level results will be also be published on the same day as A levels from 2022.

“But it doesn’t stop there, we are continuing to work with employers to raise the profile of and to create more exciting, high-quality apprenticeship opportunities. We are also reviewing other post-16 qualifications so young people can be confident that whatever option they choose after their GCSEs they will be high-quality, and will set them on a clear path to a job, further education or training.

“Technical and vocational educational has played second fiddle to traditional academic options for too long.  In three years’ time the look and feel of results day will be very different, with students getting their T Level results celebrating their hard work alongside those getting their A levels.”

Tom Bewick July19 100x100Tom Bewick, Chief Executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB), said:

“With 1 in 4 entrants to university having studied a vocational or Applied General Qualification, today is a great reminder of the importance of our diverse qualifications system based on learner choice. Reflecting a complex and dynamic labour market, these technical and vocational qualifications also equip thousands of students with the skills that employers say they need.

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"With a new Secretary of State and his ministerial team now in place, members of FAB looks forward to picking up the discussion with Gavin Williamson about the future of below Level 3 qualifications in due course; and how we continue to build on the vision of a world-class education and skills system that caters for the needs of a diverse range of learners, including young people and those with special educational needs.”

Simon Ashworth 100x100Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief policy officer Simon Ashworth said:

"The importance of vocational education cannot be underestimated whether or not Britain leaves the EU with a deal, especially when certain sectors of the economy might be subject to new migratory controls.  Apprenticeships and industry recognised and accredited vocational qualifications can make a huge difference in improving workforce productivity and filling skills gaps, so we want to congratulate young people and adult learners who have worked so hard to achieve their qualifications this year.  

"The strides made in improving the quality of vocational learning over recent years and the growth of higher level apprenticeships mean that young people now have a genuine choice over the route that they can take to a successful career including those in the professions.  The absence of debt in many of the vocational options is also a big driver for social mobility.  There is plenty to celebrate!"

Fiona Aldridge Dec 2018 100x100Dr Fiona Aldridge, director for policy and research, Learning and Work Institute, said:

"Congratulations to the many young people and adults receiving their results today. They are a great testimony to your hard work and commitment, and a strong basis from which to continue learning and developing your career in the years to come.

"Vocational qualifications are highly valued by employers. They play a critical role in helping people enter the labour market for the first time, or re-enter after a career break. They're important too for those who want to progress in their existing career or to retrain for something new.

"Yet, investment and participation in learning and skills has fallen dramatically over the last decade - and must be urgently reversed. Learning and Work Institute research provides a clear and compelling case to invest more in all kinds of learning, including vocational education. We estimate that additional investment of £1.9bn per year could boost the economy by £20bn per year, support another 200,000 people into work and help close regional skills and employment gaps.

"I'm delighted to see more recognition and celebration of the achievements of vocational learners - and hope it inspires more people to appreciate the immense value of vocational learning."

david hughes 100 x100David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges (AoC), said:

"The young people achieving vocational and technical qualifications today deserve to be celebrated and applauded as much as the A Level students tomorrow. Few people seem to realise that more than half of the country's 16-18 year olds choose to take vocational subjects each year, with over 300,000 collecting their results today.

"Those young people will see how valuable their new qualifications are as they progress into work, into apprenticeships, into higher education and into adulthood. Their future employers will also see the benefits of vocational education and training on their businesses and productivity. With changing demographics, Brexit and economic challenges, we need more investment in vocational and technical education if our country is to remain successful."

kirstie donnelly 100x100Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Managing Director at City & Guilds Group comments:

"For too long now, technical and vocational education routes have been cast into the shadows, with young people across the UK shepherded down the traditional pathway through GCSEs, A Levels and on to university. While these qualifications may be the right path for many, they should not be seen as the only option to gain a successful career.

"At a time when the UK is plagued with growing skills gaps, it's never been more important for our young people to harness the full range of different routes into employment available to them. Apprenticeships in particular offer an unparalleled opportunity for young people to earn while they learn, opening up careers in key industries from engineering and construction through to hospitality and media.

"While ongoing educational reform is helping to bring technical training into the spotlight, there is still work to be done. Governments and training providers need to work hard to ensure that parents and teachers - as well as younger generations - are aware of the different options for further education available and view technical training routes on a par with the traditional alternatives. And with a newly formed cabinet and responsibility for skills and apprenticeships falling to the Secretary of State, there has never been a better time to bring skills development back to the top of the government's agenda."

John Cope100x100John Cope, CBI Head of Education and Skills policy, said:

“Employers see these technical qualifications as world class, not second class – and the start to a great career. 

“Congratulations to all those students receiving their results today. They are a testament to years of hard work, dedication, and determination. 

“Regardless of whether people get the results they hoped for or not, it’s important to remember that life isn’t just about exam results. Grades do matter, but they are one thing employers look for – just as important is creativity, passion and character.”

On the introduction of T-levels next year, John added:

“The prestige of technical education will continue to grow with the new and critically important ‘T-Levels’ just a year away.

“T-Levels will help bring logic and common sense to the thousands of qualifications employers and young people often struggle to navigate. The Government’s commitment to T-Levels carrying UCAS points is essential.

“Once in place, young people will have the choice between three high quality options that employers, colleges and universities recognise – A-levels, T-levels or an apprenticeship.”

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