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The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education published the Post-16 Skills Plan on 8 July 2016. The Plan is the GovernmentÂ’s response to the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education chaired by Lord Sainsbury and comprising of representatives from business, Higher Education and Further Education, as well as Alison Wolf who produced the Wolf Report in 2011, A Review of Vocational Education.

A driver for the report is the need in the country for more skilled people. Technical education in the UK does not have parity of esteem with academic education Many qualifications do not give a clear enough line of sight to work. There is also a recognition that there are not enough apprenticeships at the present time so an alternative means to train more skilled people is necessary. The Government considers that technical education needs to be fulfilling, aspirational, clearly explained and attractive and it should prepare individuals for skilled employment.

The intention is that there will be two defined routes for young people at the age of 16, either the academic one or the technical one. The academic route will consist of A levels or Applied General Vocational qualifications. The alternative route, the technical one, is the subject of the Skills Plan. There will be 15 strands within the technical route which will group occupations together. The routes will be closely aligned to apprenticeships and it will be possible to swap to and from an apprenticeship. The new Institute of Apprenticeships will regulate the quality of the new technical routes. .

The number of technical qualifications will be reduced with only one approved technical level qualification for each occupation or cluster of occupations. The routes will be two yearprogrammes at level 2 and 3 and should extend to higher skills. Adults over the age of 19 will also be able to access them. If learners are not yet ready to access a technical route at the age of 16 they will be able to have up to a year of tailored and flexible support. Some movement between the academic and technical pathways will be possible.

The proposed new technical routes are

  1. Agricultural, Environmental and Animal Care
  2. Business and Administrative
  3. Catering and Hospitality
  4. Childcare and Education
  5. Construction
  6. Creative and Design
  7. Digital
  8. Engineering and Manufacturing
  9. Hair and Beauty
  10. Health and Science
  11. Legal, Finance and Accounting
  12. Protective Services
  13. Sales, Marketing and Procurement
  14. Social Care
  15. Transport and Logistics

Further updates will be available later in the year.