Lord Sainsbury’s Post-16 Skills Plan: FE Sector Responds

The Post 16 Skills Plan, developed in response to the independent report into technical education, from an expert panel chaired by Lord Sainsbury, proposes replacing the current outdated system of more than 20,000 courses provided by 160 different organisations‎ with 15 high-quality routes, with the content for those streamlined routes and standards developed and respected by employers. 

The key points from the 34 recommendations in the Sainsbury Review: Sainsbury Review icon

  1. At the age of 16, students will have to choose between the “academic option” – comprising A-levels leading to an undergraduate degree – or the new “technical option”. This will signal the end of 16-18 students being able to opt for a mixture of academic and vocational qualifications, and is likely to lead to greater specialisation in individual providers and schools. For learners, however, there will be the option of switching between the two routes after completing A-levels or equivalent qualifications.
  2. In the “technical option”, students will embark on one of 15 technical education routes:
  • Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care
  • Business and Administrative
  • Catering and Hospitality
  • Childcare and Education
  • Construction
  • Creative and Design
  • Digital
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Health and Science
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting
  • Protective Services
  • Sales, Marketing and Procurement
  • Social Care
  • Transport and Logistics
  1. Within each route, learners can – following a transition year or traineeship for those “not ready to access a technical education route at age 16” – choose between a two-year, college-based programme (including compulsory work experience), or an employment-based programme, such as an apprenticeship (including at least 20 per cent college-based provision). Older learners will also be entitled to take these programmes.
  1. Each college programme will include a “common core” of English, maths and digital skills, as well as “specialisation towards a skilled occupation or set of occupations”.
  1. After this, the pathways lead on to either level 4 or 5 higher technical education programmes, degree apprenticeships or higher apprenticeships. There will also be the option in some cases of taking “bridging provision”, leading to an undergraduate degree.
  1. The new Institute for Apprenticeships will see its remit expanded to encompass “all of technical education at levels 2 to 5”. It will be responsible for bringing together expert groups to set the content and standards for each of the 15 routes.
  1. The report calls on the institute to review all existing apprenticeship standards “at the earliest opportunity” to ensure there is “no substantial overlap”.
  1. Each qualification at levels 2 and 3 will be awarded by a single awarding body or consortium “following an open competition”, rather than the current market, which sees awarding bodies competing with one another. There will be one qualification for each occupation (or cluster of related occupations).
  1. There will be a single set of “exit requirements” of minimum standards in maths and English for both college and work-based provision. Each college student will be required to complete a “high-quality, structured work placement”, and complete a logbook to demonstrate what tasks they have undertaken and what they have learned.

Mr Boles called on employers and training providers to embrace the exciting plans and help turn this country’s highly able young people into the most skilled workforce in the world. 

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: 

nick boles 100 x 100“Britain has all the ingredients needed to compete with other skilled nations but we must create a technical education system that can harness that talent.

“This cannot be the government’s job alone; we must work with employers and post-16 providers to unlock the potential in this country. 

“The Skills Plan is the next step towards that goal, building on the progress we have already made by investing in apprenticeships, and creating a skilled workforce that is the envy of every other nation. This won’t just help our young people get the best jobs but it will also boost our economy benefitting us all.”

Post 16 Skills Plan

The first routes will be made available from 2019 for students who have finished their GCSEs.‎ Each route will take place at a college and include a work placement, or through apprenticeships.

FE Sector Response to the Post -16 Skills Plan:

The proposals in the plan have been praised by Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, and Special Adviser on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Development. 

Mr Schleicher said: “Modernising apprenticeships has been on the policy agenda for some time already, but now the UK has a promising plan to advance technical education from a last resort to a first choice.”

Mike Putnam, President and CEO of employer Skanska UK, said: “The Skills Plan provides an excellent opportunity to position academic and technical qualifications on an equal footing, which can only help to encourage new people into construction.”

"All technical routes will build in English, maths and digital skills, according to employers’ needs, and will set standards of excellence that are every bit as demanding as A levels". 

Karen Spencer, Principal at Harlow College, said: “As colleges we are not just about courses, we are about careers – we therefore believe that any reform that brings us closer to employers mean our students gain higher skills and better jobs. The reforms will take some time to bed-in, but we see tremendous opportunity and are ready for the challenge.”

Commenting on the publication of the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education and the launch of the Government’s Post-16 Skills Plan, Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said:

martin doel aoc 100x100Technical education has for too long been regarded as a poor cousin of academic study. The Government’s Post-16 Skills Plan provides a welcome roadmap to redressing this longstanding anomaly. The Plan rightly sees colleges being at the heart of the reforms with the new qualifications providing them with a cornerstone to build distinctive courses that meet the needs of employers, students and the economy.

“There is still much detail to be worked through, however, and we look forward to working with the Government and the new Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education to develop the new system most effectively.

“A skilled workforce engendered by engaged employers and supported by colleges will be the backbone of this country’s future economic success.”

Mark Dawe, CEO of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) comments:

MarkDawe 100x100“It is excellent news that a coherent strategy is being developed.  AELP is really keen that the implementation is undertaken in a way that achieves the goals of a nation wanting to lead on technical skills.  This may require time, so we would welcome the proposals receiving cross-party support.

“It is important that the reforms lead to a young person benefiting from easy transition from classroom based to work based learning during the 16-18 phase.

“The proposal for a ‘transition year’ looks positive because it recognises the value that Traineeships are already producing in being more than just a pre-apprenticeship programme.  The proposed extension of the maximum duration to a year is worth exploring but one of the strengths of the programme is its flexibility and we mustn’t lose this.    

“We need to consider carefully whether there should be only 15 apprenticeship standards for ages 16 to 18.  The review team acknowledges the work of the employer-led trailblazers and in an employer driven skills system, reassurance will be needed that all sectors will now get the staff they need, even if it is only at level 2 or 3.“

 

The Learning and Work Institute also welcomed the proposals within the report, particularly the defined technical education pathways from intermediate to higher levels, tougher regulation of qualifications and an expanded role for the Institute for Apprenticeships have been welcomed by Learning and Work Institute. In response,

David Hughes, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute said:

david hughes 100 x100“The Skills Plan provides a clear way forward for technical education and a welcome sense of commitment and direction from the Government. I congratulate Lord Sainsbury and his team on what is a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve the coherence of technical education alongside apprenticeships.

“Although clearly focused on 16-19 year olds, learning and skills can, as the Skills Plan says, provide security for working people as labour markets evolve, jobs change and our interests and talents develop. I welcome this further demonstration of the government’s commitment to lifetime learning.

"With the employment rate at an all time high, the Skills Plan rightly acknowledges that a key task for a functioning  technical education system is to help people to boost their earnings through progression in-work and be accessible to people who need extra support on to the career ladder. That’s why I particularly welcome clear progression pathways for adults mid-career as well as for 16-18 year olds.  

“Learning and Work Institute is keen to engage in the reform process. In particular, we want to see more flexible education and training provision made eligible for Advanced Learning Loans and are keen to see Traineeships play a key role as part of the transition year proposals. Our STEM Traineeship work in the Humber shows how powerful a combination of learning well-structured work experience can be in opening doors to employment and further learning for young people. 

“This is, rightly, an ambition plan which rests on timely and successful implementation of other reforms, such as the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and completion of area review recommendations, over the next six years. We look forward to supporting providers and government make the most of the opportunities these reforms can provide to learners, employers and the economy."

 Kirstie Donnelly Managing Director City & Guilds commented:

Kirstie DonnellyWe are thoroughly supportive of the Skills Plan which is finally putting high quality technical education on a level footing with academic pathways. For too long, young people have been denied a choice when it comes to their education and talented individuals have been lost to a narrow, one-size-fits all approach to education.

 “We have long recognised this and two years ago we launched the City & Guilds TechBac, a technical curriculum that provides young people with earlier exposure to deep and specialist industry knowledge alongside the workplace skills and attributes that employers really need. There is clearly still detail to be worked through but my hope is that for the first time, this plan will enable high quality technical pathways through to employment, apprenticeships and higher education, and make it much easier for young people to see their end destination and plot how to get there.”

Lindsay McCurdy, CEO of Apprenticeships 4 England highlights whether the apprenticeship and skills message is actually reaching young people:

lindsay mccurdy 100x100“A new YouGov survey commissioned by employment specialists Reed in Partnership and qualifications body NCFE suggests only 7 per cent of people aged 18-24 considered apprenticeships as the best way forward, while 68 per cent think high education is the best option. 

“The Apprenticeship message is not reaching young people, numbers of young people entering apprenticeship has not seen growth in a decade , numbers have grown but mainly to people who were already employed when starting an apprenticeship. Young people do not know about apprenticeships as an career option and this is what has to be addressed.”

 

Paul Eeles, Chief Executive of the Skills and Education Group, comprising of ABC Awards, ASDAN and emfec, stated:

Paul Eeles 100x100“The publication of the Post-16 Skills Plan could not be more timely and we welcome the initiative to raise standards across qualifications and ensure they provide learners with the knowledge and skills they need to forge successful technical and professional careers.

“Vocational and academic qualifications are different in nature, and are designed to meet the varied needs of learners. We hope that these reforms will enable vocational pathways to be given the recognition deserved of the hardworking students, tutors and institutions who support the skill development of our many industries across the country.

“While the report is certainly a step in the right direction, we hope that we will see further clarity emerge over the course of this Parliament, in terms of understanding the role and expectation of our colleges, training providers and employers in delivering and developing the ambition of the report and we look forward to engaging with the Government and the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education.”

What do you think about the Skills Plan, please comment below:

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 days ago

RT @FENews: NGWLive: Network Rail: NGWLive: Network Rail https://t.co/zqS6YwqgxP
View Original Tweet

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 days ago

City of London Corporation provides Square Mile schoolchildren with food vouchers during half term break:… https://t.co/QilxKc8yaD
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page