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Construction employers join campaign to halt scrapping of BTECs ahead of Parliamentary debate

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Construction & Built Environment Education (CBEE), a broad coalition of construction and the built environment employers and professional bodies, has become the 30th organisation to join the #ProtectStudentChoice campaign, which aims to reverse the government’s plan to scrap the majority of BTEC qualifications.

CBEE has joined the campaign ahead of a Parliamentary debate on Monday 18thJuly on the future of BTEC qualifications. The debate was triggered when the #ProtectStudentChoice petition secured 108,329 signatures earlier this year.

The petition was started in response to the government’s plan to move to a two-route model of A levels and T levels (a new suite of technical qualifications), where most young people pursue one of these qualifications at the age of 16. As part of this plan, funding for the majority of BTEC qualifications will start to be removed from 2024.

In May 2022, the government published a list of BTEC and related qualifications that it plans to scrap. Unless an appeal is upheld, these qualifications will no longer be funded from 1 August 2024. The list includes a number of popular and respected qualifications such as the BTEC Level 3 National Diploma and Extended Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment.

Commenting on today’s news:

Bruce Boughton, Chair of CBEE and People Development Manager at construction firm Lovell Partnerships Ltd, said:

“BTECs have made a real difference to many in the construction and built environment sector. We strongly support the new T Levels but their introduction should not be at the expense of other valued qualifications that promote access, diversity and progression. There is a need and a place for both T Levels and BTECs in the qualification landscape and we strongly support the #ProtectStudentChoice campaign”.

Andrew Stanley, Head of Education Policy at the Institution of Civil Engineers (and Member of the T Level Panel for Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning), said:

“The Institution of Civil Engineers strongly supports BTECs at Level 3. We particularly value their modular approach which can be tailored to specific settings. BTEC qualifications are also an integral part of our Level 3 Civil Engineering apprenticeship standard, and the transferability into the apprenticeship for full time BTEC students has been a major source of recruitment, which is not possible from the linear T Level. We hope there will be room for both qualifications.”

Neil Weller, Managing Partner at engineering consultancy Troup Bywaters + Anders, said:

“BTEC qualifications form an important part of the Level 3 apprenticeship route for young engineers and our company’s recruitment strategy. It is crucial that they are maintained alongside T Levels, as they help to deliver the knowledge, skills and behaviours that young people need to achieve their ambitions and pursue a worthwhile career. We need to make sure these routes are valued and maintained if we are to ever bridge the skills gaps that exist in the economy.”

Professor Sam Allwinkle, Chair of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, and Convener of the CBEE higher education group, said:

“It is important to protect student choice and we are pleased to have joined the campaign. BTECs have made a significant contribution to the construction and built environment sector and form the backbone of the industry’s recognised qualifications. It is important to support initiatives such as the new T Levels, but this should not be at the expense of other valued, recognised and respected qualifications that promote access, diversity and inclusion. There is a need and demand in the market place for both T Levels and other qualifications such as BTECs. 

James Kewin, Deputy Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association that is co-ordinating the #ProtectStudentChoice campaign said:

“We are delighted that Construction and Built Environment Education has become the 30thpartner in the #ProtectStudentChoice campaign, particularly as the Parliamentary debate on the future of BTECs is only days away. The message from this respected group of employers and industry bodies could not be clearer: BTEC qualifications have a vital role to play in the future qualification landscape. We hope the new ministerial team is listening and will rethink the government’s plan to scrap the majority of these valuable qualifications”.  

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