Philip Hammond promised a Budget that helps young people get the "skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future". The support shown to technical education, primarily via new 'T-Levels' for 16-19 year olds, will be broadly welcomed, with the UK seeking to act on its lowly 16th most productive economy status, according to OECD data¹.
As the UK's leading provider of skills-based qualifications in accounting, AAT recognises how strengthening post-16 education can improve both productivity and social mobility in the UK, via the provision of high quality technical qualifications that employers value. The Chancellor said that these new levels should be well recognised by employers, as they would "establish parity of esteem between academic and technical education".
Hammond also announced that the time spent by students doing technical training is to be increased by 50%, and that technical students will have access to further education maintenance loans, similar to the student loan system for those at university.
The Chancellor pointed out that these reforms were designed to ensure that, once qualified, young people would be "genuinely work-ready". In a report published by AAT this month to tie in with National Apprenticeship Week, one in three young workers - many of whom are graduates - admitted they were not 'work-ready' when they started their first job, with only 56% believing that they were.
This may demonstrate the effectiveness of apprenticeships in preparing people for the world of work. Young people taking high-level technical qualifications through an apprenticeship are gaining the best possible chance of being work-ready - by being in a position where they are in the workplace and progressing through the experience they are gaining, along with the qualifications that they take.
We do remain concerned with some aspects of the Technical and Further Education Bill, which is currently going through Parliament. For example, there are proposals which will see the Institute for Apprenticeships take copyright and intellectual property rights from Awarding Bodies whenever the Institute approves a programme. We believe this seriously risks the continued engagement and investment of Awarding Bodies, and must be addressed.
¹ Source: Growth Business