EAL qualifications announced after apprentice survey’s ‘catastrophic’ findings

New vocational qualifications for school pupils – that will count towards league table positions – can help break down the barriers between education and industry and provide more pathways to work.

The initiative, from specialist industry awarding organisation EAL, will ensure that many more young people will get the chance to weigh up their options – and take a qualification at school which will help enable them to start a rewarding career in a skilled job.

The Key Stage 4 and 5 qualifications in Engineering, plumbing and electrical work, are equivalent to GCSEs and A Levels and from 2017 the results of this new suite of qualifications will be included in school league tables.

Julia Chippendale, Managing Director of EAL said: ‘This new raft of qualifications marks a significant moment in our efforts to link industry and education.

“The skills gap is a manifestation of a hiatus between the economic needs of our nation and those that prepare our young people to meet them.”

EAL recently announced a ‘Schools Pledge’ – linking schools with industry.

The announcement comes on the day that the biggest ever survey of apprentices reveals a continued catastrophic failure of schools and colleges to provide adequate advice on apprenticeships and other vocational opportunities.

The survey, conducted by the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) found that forty five per cent of the thirteen hundred respondents received inadequate or no information about apprenticeships from their schools or colleges.

Fifty six per cent of respondents had to find out the vital information required to pursue an apprenticeship for themselves.

A mere seven per cent of those that became an apprentice – were persuaded to do so by a careers advisor or teacher.

The verdict on careers advice is marginally worse than that registered in last year’s survey.

Despite the lack of appropriate positive advice ninety eight per cent of apprentices were happy with their career choice.

A spokesman for the IAC said: “Careers advice remains in critical condition – and must be revived without delay.

“With industry crying out for hundreds of thousands of skilled workers to fulfil orders and promote growth, a record national debt to pay off – and nearly a million young people out of work – this is nothing short of a national emergency.

“We know only too well how rewarding embarking on an apprenticeship can be – it is pitiful that only 7 per cent of us were told of this by a careers advisor. It should be noted that of this 7 per cent - only a fraction of careers advisors were proactive in passing on the information.

“We need to promote change today and not tomorrow.”

Julia Chippendale, Managing Director of EAL said: “The IAC is the true and pure voice – for the young, skilled apprentices that are so crucial to the economic future of this country.

“These young people are travelling along the vocational pathway to work– they know exactly what’s happening and how well it is working.

It is for this reason that when they have something to say we should listen.”

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