Manufacturers welcome technical education plan

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Lord Sainsbury’s recommendations to plug the skills gap were welcomed by the EEF
Lord Sainsbury’s recommendations to plug the skills gap were welcomed by the EEF

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Manufacturers’ group EEF has welcomed Lord Sainsbury’s recommendations to improve technical education and plug the skills gap.

The report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, proposed replacing the current system of more than 20,000 courses provided by 160 different organisations‎ with 15 high-quality skills routes.

Key recommendations included 16-year olds choosing between an academic option – comprising A-levels leading to an undergraduate degree – or the a technical option. The latter choice would result in them choosing one of 15 technical education routes.

The routes included: engineering and manufacturing and transport and logistics. See the full list in the box below.

The EEF’s director of employment and skills policy Tim Thomas said the report had made an important contribution to the debate about how to improve technical education.

‘Failed to deliver’

“Manufacturers want a skills system that is as responsive to their needs as they are to their customers, yet this has failed to be delivered to date,”​ said Thomas.

“The current system is overcrowded with qualifications, many of which remain unused.

“This needs immediate de-cluttering with any new qualifications or standards designed and developed with industry.”

Manufacturers will also support the call to focus on work placements and career advice, added Thomas.

‘Industry experience’

“Industry experience is fast-becoming as important as qualifications, if not more so. Despite much talk about strengthening careers advice, employers have seen little positive change and want to see government pick up the pace.”

The EEF said there was a need for “elusive long-term stability”​ in the UK’s skills and education system.

“The education and skills system has gone round in continuous circles – whether it’s radical interventions or tinkering around the edges. Now is the time to get it right, and keep it that way.”

Collective action must now be taken by employers and education and training institutions, together with government, to produce the next generation of people demanded by industry, concluded Thomas. 


Proposed technical education routes

1.            Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care

2.            Business and Administrative

3.            Catering and Hospitality

4.            Childcare and Education

5.            Construction

6.            Creative and Design

7.            Digital

8.            Engineering and Manufacturing

9.            Hair and Beauty

10.          Health and Science

11.          Legal, Finance and Accounting

12.          Protective Services

13.          Sales, Marketing and Procurement

14.          Social Care

15.          Transport and Logistics

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