During a speech on Monday in Derbyshire, PM Theresa May reassured business leaders that they will not suffer skills shortages as a result of Brexit. She placed expansion of vocational education at the heart of a new proactive industrial strategy. The PM is pleading for the “outdated” belief young people have to go to university to succeed in life to be abandoned and snobby attitudes about vocational training to be surrendered.
BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters commented on the PM’s speech by saying: “We’re delighted to see the government acknowledging the need for an increase in vocational learning, especially as we’re already experiencing the pre-Brexit pain of a very real skills shortage – a pain that will inevitbly worsen as we edge towards the 2019 Brexit and beyond.”
Damain went onto say: “We have lost our way as a nation when it comes to vocational learning, often seeing ‘other peoples children’ as taking that career pathway. However, a career in the trades is one we should be collectively proud and supportive of. The opportuinity to contribute to society and literally build lives, whilst owning your own business is something to be encouraged and applauded, not sniffed at in stuffy social circles.”
BiKBBI is working with key industry businesses to open its own Centre of Excellence in the South East in September, providing a level 2 apprenticeship in fitted interiors, whilst developoing its strategy to support existing training providers to promote learning opportunities.
Before Christmas, the Institute of Directors called on May to address the issue of skills shortages before Brexit and, as a first move, to guarantee the rights of more than 2.5 million EU citizens working in this country, to remain permanently. Some 40% of companies mentioned skill shortages as having a negative effect on how they viewed their prospects.
In a sign of her willingness to show that government must work in partnership with the private sector rather than take a “hands-off” approach, May acknowledged the need to improve the UK’s productivity. She announced £170m of additional funding for institutes of technology to boost technical education, addressing its “historic undervaluation” by providing a credible alternative for young people who do not go to university.
Leading educationists, including Ofsted’s former chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, have called for a far greater focus on vocational education to offset the impact of Brexit and to equip British students to fill the gaps left in the workforce.
Before her announcement the prime minister said the new industrial strategy was a “critical part of our plan for post-Brexit Britain”. May added: “Our action will help ensure young people develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future. That means boosting technical education and ensuring we extend the same opportunity and respect we give university graduates to those people who pursue technical routes.”
Picture: Credit – The Guardian.com
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