‘Invest in skills’, City & Guilds chief urges George Osborne

‘Invest in skills’, City & Guilds chief urges George Osborne
UK productivity will continue to lag behind other developed nations unless the government boosts investment in vocational education, it has been claimed.
Ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, Chris Jones, chief executive of the City & Guilds Group, has written to chancellor George Osborne urging him to increase support for vocational education.
His comments come after senior figures told TES the Budget would be “critical” for the future of the FE sector. Mr Jones’ letter also raises concerns about the government’s focus on achieving the 3 million apprenticeships target.
Although supportive of the commitment, Mr Jones claims that even if all new apprenticeships were taken by 16- to 18-year-olds, it would equate to just 3.8 per cent out of the 10 per cent increase in enrolments needed to make a noticeable difference to youth unemployment. 
Mr Jones urges the chancellor to strengthen alternatives to a purely academic curriculum at 14 or 15; to ensure that vocational education gets sufficient funding, allocated appropriately; and to provide extra funding to meet the apprenticeships target.
His letter is supported by new research by City & Guilds and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, due to be published in full in the autumn, which reveals that a 1 per cent increase in vocational skills would uplift the country’s GDP by £163 billion in a decade.
In addition, a 10 per cent increase in vocational education enrolment by 16- to 18-year-olds would lead to a 1.5 percentage point drop in youth unemployment, the research says. It also shows the annual return on investment for training an apprentice is £10,280 in productivity gains.
Mr Jones writes: “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.”
The letter comes after a report by King’s College London professor Baroness Wolf warned that FE could “vanish into history” because the current funding system was “destroying” the sector.
Lady Wolf said vocational education funding was already being “squeezed” and could be driven out of FE colleges altogether because of the growing gap between college and university funding.
“Our future productivity and prosperity are at risk if we don’t address the ongoing erosion of provision outside the universities,” she warned.

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About Paul Champion

Some have called me a leader, and a entrepreneur, they say I have integrity, presence and skills to ensure continuous improvement and success in whatever challenges I face. They also tell me that I am positive, resilient and motivating. I say, I'm just a normaI guy from Gateshead in the North of England, who started as an apprentice engineer. I have been in the right place at the right time and in the wrong place at the wrong time! I have successfully initiated and led complex organizations and situations to completion and success, and I have been in some jobs where success seemed untouchable. Mainly though, I have tried to learn everyday, help people to progress and learn the skills they need to be successful. I have had the privilege of working with some great people locally across the UK and more recently internationally in Asia, Europe and now USA, where I am lucky enough to work for www.3aaa.co.uk where I am head of 3aaa USA. This website is just me having an outlet to talk about all those thoughts, ideas and things I learn that pass through my head every day when I face the challenge of doing business. I will also rant on about how great apprenticeships are, and how you can help change peoples lives through them. After all thats how I got to do the great things that I have done, and also I am still an apprentice everyday! All I ask is that if you find it interesting then leave a comment and share what you read. THANK YOU.

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