Julian Sturdy, Member of Parliament for York Outer, today pressed Ministers in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to deliver on plans for better technical education by listening to employers and drawing on the experience of York institutions.
The government has committed to a major overhaul of technical education as part of its Industrial Strategy for improving UK productivity and creating more skilled jobs. There is increased awareness that Britain needs a stronger vocational education system to ensure young people are equipped to meet the needs of employers, and enable growth in wages and living standards.
The Conservative 2017 election manifesto proposed creating new institutes of technology across the English regions offering degree-level courses and apprenticeships, and the creation of T-levels as a post-16 technical qualification that is equivalent to A-levels, giving young people a better choice between the academic and technical education routes.
During the question period for the Business Secretary Greg Clark in the House of Commons, Julian Sturdy said:
“The government’s commitment to creating a globally-competitive technical education system must be applauded, and I very much hope that they will draw on the best practice from establishments and institutions in my constituency such as York College and Askham Bryan College.
But can the Minister update me on discussions they’re having directly with businesses about the creation of these new institutes of technology, and will she look at bringing forward this roll-out as quickly as possible?”
Answering on behalf of the department, Minister Claire Perry replied:
“The honourable gentleman is absolutely right that these have to be a collaboration between government and business and local decision-makers. We will announce in the autumn which institutions will make up the country-wide network.”
She also stated that the institutes of technology will be supported with £170 million of government funding, and that the first wave of pupils will be setting the first of the new T-levels in September 2020.
After leaving the Commons chamber, Julian Sturdy commented:
“I am glad to hear Ministers affirm that these new technical education institutions should be based on collaboration with employers, and that there is a clear timetable for getting them up and running.
For school-leavers to be employable and able to take up quality jobs they need to be equipped with the skills today’s employers need, and this can only be achieved through listening to business and planning accordingly.
I will continue to keep a close watch on developments, and urge the government to maintain a sense of urgency about this. There is no time to lose to ensure York’s young people have the best options to allow them to make the best start in life.”