From education to employment

Pathways For All: A Commission On Level 2 & 3 Education And Training Reform Monday 26 June 2023

Youth Employment UK has today launched a Commission to explore the short, medium and long term friction points in the government’s Level 2 and Level 3 education reforms.

The focus will be on the implications for youth employment, offering supporting recommendations to aid the long term aim of streamlining and ensuring the quality of qualifications and pathways available to all young people.

The Commission is being funded by City & Guilds, Edge Foundation and NHS England. Commissioners are experts across education, training and employment and aspects of inclusion and social mobility.


  • Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO, Youth Employment UK and Chair of the Commission
  • Nicholas Bailey – CEO, Legacy 360
  • John Craven – Head of Social Mobility Commission
  • Laura Davies – CEO, British Association for Supported Employment
  • Jane Hadfield – National Lead and Senior Programme Manager Talent for Care
  • James Kewin – Deputy CEO, Sixth Form Colleges Association
  • Lauren Mistry – Deputy CEO, Youth Employment UK
  • Olly Newton – Executive Director, Edge Foundation
  • Corrienne Peasgood – President, Association of Colleges
  • Eilish Peters – Youth Voice & Policy Coordinator, Youth Employment UK
  • Paul Warner – Director of Strategy & Business Development, Association of Education & Learning Providers

LJ Rawlings, CEO of Youth Employment UK said:

“Ensuring that young people have access to quality education, employment and training opportunities that work for them where they live is key to any thriving economic policy. And whilst we agree with the principle of simplifying and ensuring quality education and training systems we must be assured that there are no grave unintended consequences for some young people.

After years of change young people are feeling more uncertain than ever before about what their future holds, solutions have to be rooted in what works for young people without leaving anyone behind.

I am delighted to be chairing these important sessions and working with this group of Commissioners.”

About Youth Employment UK

Youth Employment UK is an independent, not for profit social enterprise founded in 2012 to tackle youth unemployment. As experts on youth employment and unemployment, we are ideally placed to understand the complex landscape facing young people, employers and policy makers.

About The Commission

The Commission will run from June 2023 to February 2024, with a range of virtual and in-person evidence sessions. In the Autumn of 2023 the Commission will produce an interim report looking specifically at the economic evidence of the reforms. At its end the Commission will produce a final report and campaign highlighting any recommendations.

The Commission is being supported by Nansi Ellis, Education Policy Consultant and Josh Knight, Senior Policy & Research Lead at Youth Employment UK.

About Level 2 And Level 3 Qualifications

In July 2021, Gillian Keegan, then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, issued the Government response to the consultation on the review of Post-16 Qualifications at Level 3. In her foreword she set out the vision ‘to transform the qualifications landscape and expand opportunity right across the country, so that more people can get the skills they need to get good jobs.’

Alongside A levels and T levels (which are the equivalent of 3 A levels), the government is ‘streamlining’ the Level 3 qualifications on offer. This includes removing funding from qualifications which ‘overlap’ with T levels, and providing funding for a range of technical qualifications for occupations not served by T levels and specialist qualifications that are more specialised than the T levels. Qualifications which fit these categories will have to be submitted for approval.

According to the #Protect Student Choice campaign, more than half of the current 134 Applied General Qualifications will not be funded from 2025, as ministers deem them ineligible for approval. Since May 2020, the Government has also removed funding from over 3,700 level 2 qualifications.

The concern is that these changes will remove a well-respected pathway to higher education and skilled employment from a significant number of young people, particularly those who are most marginalised, and lead some to disengage from education altogether.

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