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Government Publishes Post-16 Skills Plan

11 July 2016

The Government has set out its vision for technical education, based on the work of Lord Sainsbury%u2019s independent panel.

The Government recognises the need for young people and adults to have the skills and knowledge that better equip them for employment in the 21st century and meet the demands of the future. The Post-16 Skills Plan sets out the Government's framework to support young people and adults to secure a lifetime of sustained skilled employment and meet the needs of the growing and rapidly changing economy.

The Government unequivocally accepts and will implement all of the proposals of the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, (also published today) where possible within current budget constraints.

The Government has also looked at the approach taken by other countries which already have world-class systems and established that they all have an easy-to-understand, high-quality, employer-led, stable technical education option extending to the highest levels, alongside the academic option. Therefore the Government has concluded that four principles must be in place for the system to succeed in the UK:

%u2022 Employers must play a leading role, working with expert education professionals, to set the standards and define the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for skilled employment.
%u2022 Technical education needs to be fulfilling, aspirational, clearly explained and attractive %u2013 to everyone, regardless of their gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity or any other factor beyond their control.
%u2022 Many more people must be able to go on to meet the national standards set by employers. This can be achieved both by making technical education an attractive option and by ensuring there is a supply of high-quality opportunities available from strong and responsive colleges and other providers with the right leadership and workforce.
%u2022 Close integration between college-based and employment-based technical education is needed so that employers and individuals can understand how they fit together and how to move from one to the other as seamlessly as possible.
The Post-16 Skills Plan proposes a new system where from 2019, students who have finished their GCSEs will be able to choose from up to 15 routes providing a clear path to skilled employment, with the content for those routes and accompanying standards set by an employer-led body.

Each route, such as health and science, construction, social care or engineering and manufacturing, will take place either at a college and include a work placement or through apprenticeships. All technical routes will build in English, maths and digital skills, according to employers%u2019 needs, and will set standards of excellence as demanding as current A levels. Students will be able to move between technical and academic options, with those not ready to start an academic or technical option at the age of 16 able to opt for a specifically tailored, fully funded %u2018transition year%u2019 to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills needed to move forward in their education. These routes will also be made available to adults wanting to get back into education.
While the Post-16 Skills Plan describes the Government's vision for the system, there will be more detail to set out later in the year as the Government develops its plans; in particular to employers, colleges and other training providers, so they can shape and lead the agenda.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said:
Britain has all the ingredients needed to compete with other skilled nations, but we must create a technical education system that can harness that talent.
This cannot be the Government%u2019s job alone; we must work with employers and post-16 providers to unlock the potential in this country.
The Skills Plan is the next step towards that goal, building on the progress we have already made by investing in apprenticeships, and creating a skilled workforce that is the envy of every other nation. This won%u2019t just help our young people get the best jobs but it will also boost our economy, benefiting us all.

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