Technical education is a crucial part of the wider education and skills system. At its best, technical education can both help provide people with the skills they need to build a successful career, and help employers to meet their skills needs.
An effective technical education system can help both boost productivity and drive social justice.
Fewer people participate in technical education in England and the UK. This is true at all levels of learning, including a ‘missing middle’ of Higher Technical qualifications at levels 4 and 5 compared to other countries.
The structure of the labour market, with historically lower investment in learning and training, is part of the explanation for this. In addition, there has been less focus on and clarity around technical and vocational pathways. This includes the range of qualifications available, not all of which are well understood by potential learners or employers, and quality and availability of careers advice for these options.
In England, the Government’s plans to try and tackle these challenges are focused on developing T levels at level 3 and reviewing vocational qualifications at levels 2-5 to try and simplify the system and build clear pathways for people.
Our work focuses on improving the technical education system. Working with learners, providers and employers, we help policymakers understand what works in designing and delivering world-class technical education.
In Wales and Scotland our work focuses on improving the vocational education system, including at entry and pre-entry levels, to help individuals gain essential skills. Working with learners, providers and employers, we help policymakers understand what works in designing and delivering world-class technical education.