Technical education is to be transformed to provide young people with clear training routes on a par with academic qualifications.

The reforms are based on the recommendations of an independent panel on technical education chaired by Lord Sainsbury and to be adopted by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 

Under the changes, students can choose between an academic or technical pathway once they have completed their GCSEs.

If they choose the former route, they can pursue college-based training or a vocational scheme such as an apprenticeship. 

Following this, students can move between technical and academic routes, by progressing onto to higher technical education, a degree or a higher apprenticeship.

Students will be able to embark on one of 15 new pathways, including construction, engineering and manufacturing.

They will also have the option to take a transition year or a traineeship to prepare themselves for their training scheme.

Each college programme will feature training in English, maths and digital skills, with the new system set to be implemented for students who sit their GCSEs in 2019.

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at CITB, said: “Construction firms have long wanted to see new entrants get a broader knowledge base before they specialise, which is one of the ambitions in the Government’s new Skills Plan.

“This will give learners a better understanding of construction as a whole and the more adaptable skills employers are looking for.

“Learners will also be able to move more easily between technical and academic routes, so that no options are closed off when they choose a pathway at 16. This should put technical and academic learning on a more even footing and encourage more people to join construction.

“The key is how this plan will be implemented. CITB will help make the new Construction Pathway successful by providing robust Labour Market Information on skills needs, and support employers to develop high quality standards.”

The current system, in which 20,000 courses are provided by 160 organisations, is thought to be too confusing for students to choose a career path.

This will be replaced by what the Government describes as “high-quality routes, with the content for those streamlined routes and standards developed and respected by employers”.

To find out more about apprenticeships in construction, visit GoConstruct.

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