The Crucial Importance of Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships and vocational education and training continue to appear on the political agenda but as so often occurs a number of policies are emanating from government that will impede their implementation. If the government is really committed to introducing a comprehensive high quality set of apprenticeship programmes then a totally new paradigm needs to be… Read more »

The Value of Qualifications and the Question of Parity of Esteem!

The Value of Qualifications and the Question of Parity of Esteem. The theme of this piece is as relevant to the plumbing profession as it is for all other vocational and technically orientated qualifications and occupations. It addresses the general perception that these qualifications are second-class and of low status when in fact they are… Read more »

The Future Shape of Work?

At this time of continuing financial crisis, high youth unemployment and ever accelerating technological advance the issues associated with the shape of work and the workforce in the future and its implications for education and training have never been so important.  The reality is that employment and employability are changing at an accelerating rate. Over… Read more »

Why No Licence to Practise?

I would like to focus on three inter- related issues namely the existence of rogue traders and training providers and the reluctance of this country to introduce a licence to work for a number of occupations. These issues have sadly created an unfair and negative view of a number of professional trades including, construction, hairdressing,… Read more »

Yet Another Report!

The recently published Perkins Report (1) highlights again the woeful state of the supply of qualified people especially females into engineering and the manufacturing industries. As usual it is a worthy and at times an insightful document but it joins innumerable ones addressing the same issue published over many decades. This country shows very few… Read more »

Plumbing Matters!

A campaign about the importance of the qualifications and standards associated with training for plumbing and other equally important practically-orientated occupations is urgently needed. The title above is not empty sloganising; after all the mantra ‘water is dangerous’  has significant meaning bearing in mind the deaths and serious accidents each year from scalding, legionnaire’s disease… Read more »

Informal Vocational Learning

Learning occurs everywhere and at all times people acquire new skills, knowledge and competences just by the virtue of one’s existence i.e. it is truly inclusive. Learning can occur in a number of different ways largely determined by the context, resources available whether they are physical, human or financial. The OECD identifies three kinds of… Read more »

The TechBacc – What Chance of Success?

The latest attempt to introduce a vocational and occupational qualification, the Technical Baccalaureate (TechBacc), has been announced to begin in September 2014 and results will be reported in the performance tables in 2017. As usual the initiative is launched with all the usual political hype and well worn rhetoric – namely it will be an… Read more »

Inhibitors to Implementing the Skills Agenda

As a result of the current financial crisis many countries are now considering how to rejuvenate and rebalance their economies. New paradigms need to be developed which in turn will create many difficult challenges for governments and the education system. Many of these issues are associated with the quality and quantity of human capital in… Read more »

The Importance of Work Related Learning (WRL) for All

One of the most disappointing aspects of the Wolf Review was the recommendation that WRL should not be a statutory requirement for 14-16 year olds. Equally sad was that the government endorsed that recommendation and removed the funding from schools that has been successful in developing education business partnerships over the past few years. This… Read more »