Vocational courses 'lead nowhere'

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High-quality vocational education is absolutely crucial to the future of the country, the Government says

Hundreds of thousands of young people are being failed by the vocational education system with many undertaking courses that “don’t lead anywhere”, an independent report will say.

Government sources said that the findings of the Wolf Report would demonstrate that Labour forced millions of youngsters into “dead-end qualifications” with no prospects of them leading to good jobs.

Speaking on the BBC’s Breakfast programme, the author of the report, Professor Alison Wolf, said: “Far too many young are on courses which actually don’t lead anywhere.

“Doing a good apprenticeship is worth far more to you in all sorts of ways than going and doing a university degree that doesn’t interest you very much, and which often doesn’t actually have that much value either.

“One very eminent training provider said that far too many of the qualifications that he’s asked to give young people don’t fit them to do anything except get another qualification, and that’s crazy.

“What they need is to get into the workplace and to get some real skills that will serve them well in life,” she said.

Professor Wolf, of King’s College London, was commissioned by Education Secretary Michael Gove in September to carry out a review of vocational qualifications and the responsiveness of the system to the changing needs of the labour market.

She estimates that between a quarter and a third of 16 to 19-year-olds – 300,000 to 400,000 teenagers – are on programmes offering no clear opportunities for progression and leading to qualifications with little or no market value. In some cases, courses may even make students less employable, the report suggests.

A Government source said: “Under Labour millions of children left school without English and maths GCSE and millions were pushed into dead-end qualifications.

“High-quality vocational education is absolutely crucial to the future of the country and the economy. The Wolf Review gives us a detailed blueprint for learning from the most successful countries and putting Labour’s failure behind us.”

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