Chancellor must support vocational education to boost productivity
The City & Guilds Group calls on George Osborne to support vocational education, following new research highlighting benefits to the economy
06 July 2015
The Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group has written to the Chancellor ahead of the first Budget Statement since the General Election, urging him to increase support for vocational education.
In a letter sent last week, Chris Jones welcomes the latest ONS figures showing a 0.3% quarterly increase in productivity, but warns that the UK will continue to lag behind without sufficient investment in vocational education.
His challenge to the Chancellor is supported by new research by the City & Guilds Group and the Cebr – to be published in full in the autumn – which reveals that a 1% increase in vocational skills would uplift this country’s GDP by £163bn in a decade. In addition, a 10% increase in vocational education enrolment by 16-18 year olds would lead to a 1.5 percentage point drop in youth unemployment.
In his letter, Jones also raises concerns about the Government’s focus on achieving the three million apprenticeships target. While supportive of the Government’s commitment to apprenticeships, he cautions that even if all new apprenticeships were taken by 16-18 year olds, it would equate to just 3.8% of the 10% increase in enrolments needed to make a noticeable difference to youth unemployment.
He urges the Chancellor to act in the following ways:
- To strengthen alternatives to a purely academic curriculum at 14 or 15.
- To ensure there is sufficient funding for vocational education, and that it is allocated appropriately.
- To provide additional funding or a new funding system in order to help meet the three million apprenticeship target – and ensure the apprenticeships are high-quality.
Drawing on the research, which demonstrates that the annual return on investment for training an apprentice is £10,280 in productivity gains, Jones writes to Osborne: ‘Broadening high-quality vocational education provision can make a substantial difference to employment, productivity, and therefore our GDP. In your Budget, you have an opportunity to invest in skills and make a long-lasting impact on our economy.’
View the full letter >