Major overhaul of higher technical education announced 

New package of measures for higher technical education will build on the work to transform technical and vocational education in Britain

Measures to boost the quality and take-up of higher technical education to help plug skill gaps, level up opportunities and support the UK’s economic recovery have been announced by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today (14 July).

A major review last year revealed that higher technical education – technical qualifications like Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas that sit between A Level and degrees – can unlock the skills employers need and lead to highly skilled, well paid jobs. Despite this, not enough people are studying them which is leading to skills shortages in sectors like construction, manufacturing and digital.

The package of measures announced today marks the next step in establishing a system of higher technical education where students and employers can have confidence in high-quality courses that provide the skills they need to succeed. The package includes:

  • Introducing newly approved higher technical qualifications from September 2022 supported by a government-backed brand and quality mark – qualifications will only be approved where they provide the skills employers need, providing much needed clarity for students and employers.

  • Working with Ofsted and the Office for Students to make sure the quality of courses is consistently high across HE and FE institutions – building on our Institutes of Technology so students and employers can be confident courses will be high quality.

  • Launching a new public awareness campaign – working in partnership with employers and careers advisers to showcase the benefits and the wide range of opportunities that studying a higher technical qualification can open up and making sure students get the right information, advice and guidance to make informed choices.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

For too long we have been training people for the jobs of yesterday instead of the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Employers are struggling to find the computer programmers, engineers, electricians and technicians they need, and students of all ages are missing out on the high skill, high wage jobs that higher technical education can lead to.

The measures I have announced today will boost the quality and take-up of these qualifications to help plug skill gaps, level up opportunities and support our economic recovery.

Matthew Percival, CBI People and Skills Director, said:

Higher technical qualifications help people develop the skills that build careers. It’s fantastic to see this commitment from Government to boost their uptake.

Putting employers in the driving seat will give them confidence that courses on offer meet their needs.

With four-fifths of employers expecting to increase higher skilled roles in the coming years, offering clear progression routes through higher technical qualifications will be essential to creating a sustainable and inclusive future economy.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, chair of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, said:

At the present time there is a serious mismatch between the skills and knowledge delivered by our education system and the needs of our economy and society (34% of graduates are in non-graduate jobs, and industry faces a persistent shortage of technical skills). This announcement of a major reform of higher technical education, together with the introduction of T Levels, should go a long way to ending this mismatch and should be strongly supported by all political parties and industry.

Today’s announcement follows the Education Secretary’s FE speech where Gavin Williamson pledged to publish a White Paper that will set out our plans to build a world-class, German-style further education system in Britain, which will strive toward high quality qualifications based on employer-led standards. It also follows the significant investment announced by the Chancellor to support young people’s employment prospects – which includes a new ‘kickstart’ scheme to create work placements for young people on Universal Credit, £111 million investment to triple the number of traineeships available across England, supporting employers to create more apprenticeships opportunities, new investment to support an additional quarter of a million people with careers advice, and more.

These reforms build on work already underway to transform technical and vocational education in this country, including the introduction of new T Levels from September, working with employers to create more high–quality apprenticeship opportunities and establishing a network of Institutes of Technology, backed by up to £290 million.Higher technical qualifications will provide a natural progression route for young people taking new T Levels from 2020 or A Levels, and adults looking to upskill or retrain, enabling them to take the next step up and gain higher technical skills in key subjects like STEM.

Higher technical courses are offered at universities and FE colleges– such as Nottingham Trent University and New College Durham– and National Colleges, like the National College for Digital Skills, are well placed to expand in this area. The Government’s network of Institutes of Technology – unique collaborations between universities, FE colleges, and leading employers – also specialise in delivering high-quality higher technical education and training in STEM subjects, such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering that will provide employers with the skilled workforce they need.

The measure announced today will complement the Government’s review of post-18 education to ensure the system is joined up, accessible and encourages the development of the skills the country needs.


This Consultation: Improving higher technical education has concluded

Download the full outcome

Reforming higher technical education: government response

PDF, 817KB, 60 pages

Detail of outcome

Summary of responses we received, along with the government’s response outlining the next steps.

You can also read the consultation analysis and the government’s plans for Higher technical education reforms.

Original Consultation: Improving higher technical education

Summary

We're seeking views on plans to improve the quality of classroom-based higher technical education in England.

This consultation was held on another website.

This consultation ran from
 to 

Consultation description

Higher technical education is post-18 education aligned to technical routes, such as accounting, engineering, management or laboratory science.

We’d like to hear your views on our plans to:

  • create a new system to make it clearer which higher technical qualifications provide the skills employers want
  • work with the Office for Students (the independent higher education regulator) to recognise and develop high-quality provision of higher technical education
  • make higher technical education a more positive and popular choice by raising awareness and understanding of it among potential students and employers

This consultation is for anyone with an interest in technical education and training for young people and adults in England.

Published 8 July 2019
Last updated 14 July 2020 + show all updates

  1. Added consultation response and links to further information.

  2. First published.

Also available:

Interim analysis of the effect changes to the higher technical education will have on specific protected groups of people.

Documents

Review of higher technical education: interim impact assessments

Ref: DfE-00142-2019PDF, 1.48MB, 19 pages

Details

The impact assessment considers the following protected characteristics, identified in the Equality Act 2010:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race (including ethnicity)
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Documents

Higher technical education: the current system and the case for change

Ref: DfE-00143-2019PDF, 1.7MB, 19 pages

Review of higher technical education: glossary of terms

PDF, 1020KB, 9 pages

Details

‘Higher technical education: current system and case for change’ - presents the available evidence on the government’s reforms to the system.

The glossary of terms explains important higher technical education terminology, it should also be read alongside the consultation on ‘Improving higher technical education’ .

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Saj Mohammad MSET had a status update on Twitter 8 hours 40 minutes ago

RT @LouMycroft: #IdeasRooms are efficient and magical *because* we collectively hold the rules in place. #FreedomNeedsBoundaries This s…
View Original Tweet

National Education Group has a new avatar. 2 days ago

To what extent are parents aware and responsible
for correcting their children's behaviour in this
cluster...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page