Voc ed on party leaders’ agenda

Vocational education and skills was top of the agenda when top politicians addressed business leaders last week.

Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband all spoke about FE when they addressed the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference in London on Monday.

Mr Cameron praised businesses for their role in securing 2m apprenticeship starts in this Parliament, and emphasised his commitment to taking the total to 3m by 2020.

He added: “The ambition I have is that all our young people, leaving school at 18 rather than 16 should be thinking ‘which path am I going to take?’ Is it either a path to university and to a degree or is it an apprenticeship and the potential of doing a degree through that apprenticeship as well.

“I want to see fewer and fewer people leaving school and going straight into the workforce, or indeed, I want to see us almost abolish youth unemployment.”

While Mr Miliband said that a “revolution” was needed in vocational education to deal with a “discontent” among the British public, Mr Clegg spoke about the need for good careers advice and guidance.