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Technical and professional education is the path to productivity

Technical and professional education is the path to productivity


3 min read Partner content

National awarding organisation and technical education provider NCFE calls on the Chancellor to provide an ongoing commitment to funding Technical and Professional Education in next week's Budget.

The past 5 years has seen a range of Government initiatives across the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, all aimed at creating rigorous and valued pathways for young people to progress into a range of Technical and Professional jobs.

Here at NCFE, we value this focus on Technical Professional Education as a way to increase productivity in the UK economy, as well as providing the skills, knowledge and competencies young people need to enter sustained careers. We hope this will finally lead to a situation where achieving a Technical Professional Qualification, or being employed as an Apprentice, will be held in the same esteem as more traditionally established ‘Academic’ routes through A Level into Higher Education.

We also welcome involving employers more closely in designing and shaping learning pathways. However, in reforming the Technical and Vocational Education sector, the government risks losing the incredible wealth of talent, knowledge and experience that has been established by colleges, training providers and the Awarding Organisations they work with.

We’re working closely with employers, because we recognise that they are the experts in articulating the skills they need in their occupations. However, they lack knowledge of developing learning programmes, rigorous assessment and creating learning resources. It’s time the government recognised that although change is needed, it cannot come at the expense of all the wonderful good practice that already exists in the education and skills sector.

Here at the Awarding Organisation NCFE, we’re proud of the qualifications that we develop and our learners study. These qualifications provide them with a certificate that states to employers that what they’ve achieved is nationally recognised and quality assured against stringent standards. It shows that the learner has clearly demonstrated their competence in a skill or occupational area, giving prospective employers the confidence of their ability to perform in a job role; valuable currency in today’s labour market.

Government funding that underpins and supports the Further Education system is crucial. If the Chancellor is serious about increasing the skills level of the UK economy, then there must be an ongoing commitment to funding Technical and Professional Education – to empower learners into quality and sustained careers.

NCFE has been awarding for over 150 years. We’ve been around long enough to know that there are no quick wins. 3 million Apprenticeship starts makes an attractive soundbite but how will this impact on UK productivity? The only focus should be on developing a high quality system that leads to sustainable careers for learners. This is something that we’ve done throughout our history, and we’ll continue to do so.

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