How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, colleges and schools can be confident that learners will have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to thrive in the rapidly changing world we are all navigating.

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, colleges and schools can be confident that learners will have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to thrive in the rapidly changing world we are all navigating.

20 Jun 2024, 9:06

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I’m sure you would agree that change is happening in the vocational education sector – and in the world of skills and work generally – at an unprecedented pace.

As Senior Product Director for Vocational Qualifications here at Pearson, I was actively engaged in designing our new BTEC 2025 (AAQ) qualifications. Our insight and data on the future of skills tells us that if we are to give learners the best chance of finding their brightest and best future, we must think differently about how we evolve and update vocational qualifications to reflect the changing landscape.

BTEC qualifications have existed for over 40 years and over that time we have worked with educators, HEIs and professional bodies to evolve the qualifications to ensure they remain current and future-facing. I know our college and school partners have always taken incredibly seriously their responsibility to ensure learners are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to thrive in an ever-changing world.

Transferable skills: All together now

According to our Pearson Skills Outlook 2022 research, while technical skills remain highly valued, the top five most sought-after skills by employers are all human skills. These include communication, collaboration, attention to detail, leadership, and customer service.

Transferable skills are essential for a changing workforce and bring about personal and social benefits for individuals and society. However, there is a gap between the skills that employers seek and the skills that graduates possess. This highlights the need for an approach to developing transferable skills that goes beyond just aligning skills to the curriculum.

In response to this insight, we have identified transferable skills as one of the three critical skill areas and have integrated them into all our new BTEC qualifications.

Digital Skills: For the connected world

In addition to transferable skills, digital skills are essential for effectively operating in an increasingly digital and technology driven planet. However, the digital skills gap is widening, with over 80% of all jobs advertised in the UK now requiring skills that over half of the UK’s workforce lacks *Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2020

To address this gap, we have integrated digital skills into our new BTEC National qualifications.

Sustainability: Learning that supports our planet

Despite the growing importance of sustainability education, only a small percentage of FE students are enrolled in qualifications with significant sustainability content.

At Pearson, we are responding by incorporating sustainability education throughout all our new BTEC National qualifications. We have used the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals as a frame of reference and worked closely with sector experts on this.

Putting skills front and center

Our Pearson Skills Outlook 2022 research has given us the opportunity to embed these all important human skills into our most recent qualification developments. The current Level 3 reforms have meant that we have embedded these in our new BTEC 2025 (AAQ) qualifications should any changes be made.

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, colleges and schools can be confident that learners will have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to thrive in the rapidly changing world we are all navigating. My sincere hope is that, using the very latest insight and research, together we can deliver future–proofed vocational qualifications that properly prepare learners – helping them to flourish no matter how fast the world changes.

Explore our new approved Level 3 BTECs

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