We need to transform our education system into the inclusive and productive one we need to prosper in the global market place. Recent reforms to strengthen vocational education are welcome. But attitudes have not kept up with the pace of change, and it remains the poor relation of academic attainment. At the same time 16 per cent of 16 to 24‐year‐olds are unemployed and there is consensus that we need to provide the appropriate training to improve and complete the skills of our nation’s workforce.
For our economy to thrive, we need more young people to undertake high-quality vocational education and develop the skills that matter so that we develop a broad mix of skilled individuals motivated to learn. Alongside existing policy changes to establish sustainable structures and funding systems, and to provide high-quality vocational qualifications, we need to address entrenched views that academic routes are ‘better’. This change is necessary to give all young people the chance to fully participate in learning appropriate to their needs, develop the skills employers are looking for, fulfil their potential, find employment and secure future economic growth.