Burnham calls for technical education overhaul

Andy Burnham will call for an overhaul of technical education today
Andy Burnham will call for an overhaul of technical education today
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Labour could introduce a university student loans-style system to help young people move around the country to take up technical apprenticeships, leadership candidate Andy Burnham will say.

Mr Burnham will also look at introducing a centralised application system similar to UCAS for school leavers wishing to take up high quality apprenticeships if he wins the leadership battle.

The former cabinet minister, who is competing with Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership, will say education policy has become stuck in the “Westminster bubble”, where the majority of people went to private school and university.

He has asked Labour MP Pat Glass to lead a expert panel looking at improving the application process and financing of technical education.

At a speech in Crewe, Mr Burnham will call for a “revolution” in technical education.

He will say: “For too long, education policy in this country has been stuck inside the Westminster bubble, where the vast majority of people went to private schools and university. The result has been a debate about education obsessed about academic qualifications not giving enough attention to quality technical education.

“This has left technical education in Britain as a low prestige, second class option. If we continue with this flawed approach, we will not build the highly skilled workforce that Britain needs to build a modern economy and compete in the world.

“I want young people to be able to find out and apply for apprenticeships in exactly the same way as people apply for university. So my ambition is for national UCAS-style system for apprenticeships, raising sights, rewarding those who work hardest, giving all children hope and a goal in life.

“We need a revolution in technical education, giving it all the support and prestige that comes with the university route. And that means access to financial support too.”