Science students in lab coats and safety glasses

Fundamental shift needed on technical education in England

By 08.07.16

The Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education was published today, setting out a vision for technical education in the UK and calls for clearer educational routes into skilled employment in specific occupations. The Panel was convened last year by BIS and DfE and chaired by Lord David Sainsbury.

The report’s key recommendations include:

  • A single, common framework of standards to cover both apprenticeships and college-based provision.
  • Development of short, flexible bridging provision to enable individuals to move, in either direction, between the academic and technical education options and to support adults returning to study.
  • Develop 15 technical education routes, including Health and Science to provide training for skilled occupations where there is a substantial requirement for technical knowledge and practical skills.
  • The remit of the Institute for Apprenticeships should be responsible for assuring national technical education standards at levels 2 to 5.

In conjunction the government also released today the first Skills White Paper in a decade, accepting all the recommendations made by Lord Sainsbury’s report.

The Science Council welcomes the Sainsbury Panel Report and its recommendations and commends the government for its positive response in the Skills White Paper. The White Paper sets out a vision for technical education that professional bodies can unite behind. In science, the technical education route has been much maligned and is almost invisible as a career path for young people. We particularly welcome the report’s emphasis on the need for greater clarity of purpose and emphasis on qualifications that are valued by employers and lead to professional registration.

We look forward to working with the DfE, the Institute for Apprenticeships, employers and professional bodies on developing and assuring the quality of the new standards in the routes relating to science-based occupations.

Theresa Moore, Chair of the Science Council’s Technical Education Committee

It is anticipated that the first new routes will come into effect in 2019, while the Institute for Apprenticeships is expected to be fully operational by Spring 2017.

Read more about our response to the Sainsbury Panel Report and our work in Technical Education in Ali Orr’s blog.