Technical education fit for the workforce of tomorrow

New proposals put employers at the heart of technical education and build a strong FE system that delivers the skills our economy needs.

New proposals to put employers at the heart of technical education and build a strong further education system that delivers the skills our economy needs were set out by Skills Minister Robert Halfon today (27 October 2016).

Building on progress already made by investing in high-quality apprenticeships and pledging to streamline vocational education, the government has today published a bill dedicated to improving the quality of technical and further education for young people across the country.

The Further Education and Technology Bill represents another step in this government’s social reform agenda to deliver an education system that works for everyone. It sits alongside:

• the Children and Social Work Bill
• the Higher Education and Research Bill
• our consultation on creating more ‘good’ school places - Schools that work for everyone

We do not require wider education legislation in this session to progress our plans for an education system that works for all.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon:

"I am clear that to build a country that works for everyone, each part of the education system needs to deliver for our young people.

"High-quality technical and further education is not only vital in opening up doors to young people in some of the hardest to reach areas of the country, it also helps local businesses get the skilled workforce they need to drive up the productivity and economic growth that our economy needs.

"The reforms in this bill are fundamental to the government’s vision of ensuring all young people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential."

Proposals set out in the bill published today

Boosting technical education to make sure it’s high quality and responds to employers

This bill will build on measures set out in the government’s post-16 skills plan, developed in response to an independent report from an expert panel chaired by Lord Sainsbury. It includes the proposal to extend the role of the Institute for Apprenticeships to cover technical education. This move will mean the institute, which was set up to be the ultimate decision maker for approving apprenticeship standards, will now ensure that all technical training available to young people and adults is of the highest quality and based on the needs of employers.

A new insolvency regime to protect the interests of students

A vibrant, financially resilient and stable education sector is vital to deliver our aims. Having a secure further education sector benefits everyone - learners, employers and the taxpayer alike. We are working with colleges, through the area reviews programme, to ensure that is the case. But, in the event that a college becomes insolvent in the future, a new regime will be introduced to ensure that learners will be protected. We will ensure that disruption to their studies is avoided or minimised as far as possible. At the same time, the insolvency regime will address the current absence of any provisions for college insolvency, giving creditors certainty for the first time about how their claims will be dealt with.

Focus on good quality technical education and information sharing

A new measure to require colleges and local authorities to continue to share information such as data on results. While the devolution of the adult education budget to combined authorities will rightly give areas more control to spend the funding where they need it most, this measure will ensure that information is still shared with government to inform policy decisions and benefit learners.

The Technical and Further Education Bill will take forward these proposals, which were discussed in the post-16 skills plan and follow a public consultation on the introduction of an insolvency regime for further education and sixth-form colleges launched in the summer.