UTCs, apprenticeships and destination data central to Tory manifesto plans for FE

UTCs, apprenticeships and destination data central to Tory manifesto plans for FE

The Conservatives will put a University Technical College (UTC) “within reach of every city” and increase the use of destination data about FE courses if they form a government again in May, the party has announced.

Alongside existing pledges to create 3m apprenticeship starts over the course of the next Parliament and “improve” FE by opening new national colleges, the Tories included plans in their manifesto to expand the network of UTCs despite concerns about their popularity and quality.

Launching the manifesto at UTC Swindon this morning, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Our ambition is to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and we have a plan to get there.

“We will deliver 3m apprenticeships and open more great new UTCs.”

In the manifesto document itself, the Tories simply pledge to ensure “there is a UTC within reach of every city”, without explaining what distance they consider “in reach” to mean. They have also stopped short of setting out a timetable for the expansion or a final number they are aiming for.

The document also commits the Conservatives to publishing “more earnings and destination data for FE courses”, but does not say how the roll-out of such data would be handled.