In his keynote speech to Labour’s annual conference in Manchester on Tuesday (October 2nd), Mr Miliband proposed a new Technical Baccalaureate, which he claimed would help boost the workplace inclusion of the “forgotten 50 per cent” of young people who do not go to university.
The TechBacc would offer work experience, school-based vocational training and academic courses in English and maths to pupils up to the age of 18.
This would be coupled with an increase in the use of apprenticeships to help young people into employment, which could see 100,000 extra entry-level posts created.
The proposals have been welcomed by a number of business groups, including the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and manufacturers’ organisation the EEF, who believe that such a scheme could not only help more young people into work from a non-academic background, but also be good for businesses.
“Our research shows that six in ten organisations are closing their doors to the 50 per cent of young people who do not go to university,” said Katerina Rudiger, skills policy adviser at the CIPD.
“This is not just bad news for young people, but also for business. Employers tell us they’re concerned about where they’ll find the skills they need for the future.”
Mr Miliband’s proposals also included plans to reform apprenticeships by giving control of the £1 billion budget for on-the-job training to businesses and allowing them to have greater input into setting the standards for vocational qualifications.
“Raising the standard of apprenticeships and ensuring young people are leaving education with better qualifications in maths and English are both absolutely critical,” said Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF.
“Firms that are looking to invest in skills will also welcome plans to give business greater control over how public funding is spent.”