MINISTERS have been told tinkering with qualifications is not enough to give teenagers the skills they need for the world of work.
A report by the IPPR thinktank warns that there is not enough focus on students who are neither following an academic path nor taking up a work-based apprenticeship. It also calls for lessons to be learned from other countries on finding ways of getting employers more involved in vocational education.
Louise Evans, a senior research fellow for IPPR, said: “As we enter 2015 – the year when 18-year- olds in England will be required to participate in education and training for the first time – it is important that we learn from other similar economies, such as the Netherlands and Australia, who have better rates of participation and youth unemployment.
“Our research shows that these countries have clearer transition systems from education to work, particularly supported by strong vocational education for young people.
“We need strong college-based vocational route alongside further apprenticeships, all supported by simple, strong structures to involve employers in this phase of education.”
Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt said: “Technical and vocational education should be a priority for this country. But on David Cameron’s watch, it is little more than an after-thought.
“The future prosperity of our country relies on all of our talents and that means delivering more and better opportunities for young people to possess the skills we need to compete in a global labour market.”