Vocational courses are not suitable for all industries, it has been claimedVocational schemes are not a ready-made solution to the problems facing Britain's employment market and could take several years to establish, according to the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU).

HECSU director of research Jane Artess explained that the length of time required to set up vocational courses means they are often ill-equipped to adapt to the rapidly-changing demands of the country's businesses.

"It is unlikely to be in the interests of individuals or companies to focus solely on vocational approaches," she said. "What might be wiser is to ensure that vocational courses include education and training."

Ms Artess added that those who signed up for initiatives in the financial and construction sectors before the downturn are now likely to find themselves at a disadvantage, because the industries are still struggling following the recession.

Her comments came after education secretary Michael Gove instigated an independent review into whether vocational courses can benefit 14 to 19-year-olds.