I have created this site covering a range of topics that will hopefully convey the history and the current importance of technical, commercial and vocational education/training from a number of different perspectives. I hope it will prove of interest and value to students, researchers and people who are associated with this important sector of education and training.

The website is a free resource. All I ask is that the source is referenced if used. Some of the material is written from a personal viewpoint reflecting my experiences gained as a student in Further Education and a long career working in the FE sector.

I have always believed that the Further Education (FE) Sector is the closest example of a truly comprehensive sector of education. Technical Education is a strategically important part of the education system especially at a time of massive transformations occurring globally. The history and commentary on various aspects of technical and vocational education attempt to identify why it is still perceived in a negative way in spite of innumerable initiatives and government pronouncements over many decades. The FE sector has been referred to as the Cinderella sector often with good cause. The material on this site attempts to record and reflect on a number of issues that have influenced and shaped technical and vocational education/training.

Much of the material catalogues a series of misguided political initiatives, false dawns and missed opportunities which sadly continue even today. It also highlights initiatives through the centuries which have been pivotal in putting technical education in this country on the map at all. I strongly believe that one must understand history and attempt to learn from the lessons if one is to improve the situation in the future. Sadly generations of politicians have consistently ignored these lessons preferring to recreate the mistakes of the past – this is most certainly true where technical, commercial and vocational education and training are concerned. Some of the content will be controversial and I hope it will provoke constructive argument and debate.

Some of the materials in earlier versions (2003+) have appeared in ‘t’ magazine (www.tmag.co.uk) which sadly has ceased to be published.

In addition to the histories of technical and commercial education/training and technical and commercial examinations comprehensive chronologies, glossaries and a book list complement these histories. In addition biographies and pen portraits of people and organisations that have influenced the development of technical, commercial and vocational education/training are included. Then to add further value to the site a series of articles and viewpoints highlight current issues and concerns about the topic. I have also included a series of pages with detailed facts and figures and statistical information on examinations and training providers which hopefully will further enhance the site. The latest addition to the site is ‘Counterpoint’ which will consist of a series of articles from other writers and I am grateful to them for their interesting and valuable contributions.
The site will be constantly expanded and updated.

I have created a second website www.techedarchive.org which complements this site and comprises an archive of articles on technical and vocational education and training. Again I hope the reader will found this of interest.

Richard Evans FInst.P. FCGI. FInstLM. CompCIPHE.

1 September 1942 – 2 January 2022