Ofsted calls for more employer involvement in shaping and delivering vocational education

Sir Michael Wilshaw called for employers to play a greater part in the provision of vocational education at a speech to the CBI earlier this week. In his speech he stated that ‘vocational education is still failing to deliver the needs of both young people and of society’ and went on to cite examples of job vacancies in a number of sectors that employers cannot fill because applicants don’t have the required skills. In his speech he also acknowledged that the issue is ‘as much attitudinal as it is educational as ‘vocational training in this country does not have the esteem and status that academic education enjoys.’  He applauded the Government’s recent introduction of the practical Technical Awards and Levels alongside GCSEs and A levels and outlined four things that need to done: 1. Apprenticeships must have parity of esteem with A levels. They must be sold aggressively to schools, parents and young people. This means that the quality of careers information and guidance must be raised substantially. 2. High-quality vocational education must be readily available to all pupils in the same way academic education is. It should be seen as a valid option for every student and not as the consolation prize for those who cannot do anything else. 3. Employer engagement must be at the forefront of any reform. 4. All vocational training must give a clear line of sight to work.

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