This week the Government announced the introduction of what they are calling a “Technical Baccaleureate” or “TechBacc” performance measure which is intended to give bright young people aspiring to a vocational career an alternative to the more traditional, academic A-Level route. It will recognise achievements by young people aged 16-19 in 3 areas:
- “a high-quality level 3 vocational qualification – only the best courses, recognised by employers, will continue to count in league tables; a list of these courses will be published towards the end of the year”
- “a level 3 ‘core maths’ qualification, including AS level maths (further information about core maths courses for post-16 students will be published by the Department for Education (DfE) in due course)”
- “the extended project, which will develop and test students’ skills in extended writing, communication, research, and self-discipline and self-motivation“
According to the Government, the TechBacc is intended to give vocational training the esteem it is given in countries like Germany, Japan and South Korea and is intended to follow on from Professor Alison Wolf’s 2011 Review of Vocational Education, which concluded that hundreds of thousands of 16-19 year olds were being poorly served by their vocational qualifications. The announcement has been welcomed by Professor Wolf.
All credit should be given to the Government, and particularly to Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP, for pushing ahead with policies like this. He is also the Minister behind Traineeships for 16-24 year olds (of which you will hear more from us soon). While these are several years later than we would have liked them, these are exactly the sort of initiatives we need to reduce our high level of youth unemployment by tackling our skills shortage among young people. In addition, this initiative shows the value of having a passionate, committed Government Minister with responsibility for young people across more than one government department.