Britain’s manufacturers are urging the Government to work more closely with business on new reforms to technical education or risk repeating the mistakes that plagued the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, which they say was rushed in without proper consultation.
This follows a new survey by Make UK (the manufacturers’ organisation) that shows a significant lack of awareness within industry about the proposed new T levels, as well as concerns about how key elements of the reforms will be implemented.
Verity Davidge, head of education and skills policy at Make UK, said: “For too long, vocational education has remained in the shadows of academic learning.
"Industry supports the introduction of T levels, which have the potential to boost technical education and create a credible vocational education route for young people, as well as deliver the practical and technical skills industry so desperately needs.
“However, the introduction of T levels is another fundamental change to our education system, which has been subject to constant chop and change.
“Currently, there is a worrying lack of awareness in industry, with low levels of knowledge of T levels — even among those who have heard of them.
“To avoid the problems associated with the Apprenticeship Levy, the Government must work more closely with business groups to significantly boost awareness of T levels throughout industry.
"The programme is at risk of failing if employers aren’t aware or on board, particularly when it comes to offering mandatory work placements.”
The new T levels are due to be introduced in engineering and manufacturing in 2022; they are intended to “simplify the landscape for vocational qualifications” and provide a route into skilled employment after two years’ study.
They will be made up of five key elements and will include mandatory work placements.