Minister for vocational education?

for the appointment of a Government minister with specific responsibility for
vocational education are gaining momentum. A number of leading figures in
education have added their voices to demands by the new director general of
City & Guilds, Chris Humphries, for Government to show its commitment to
placing vocational education on a par with academic education.

education has for too long been treated as a poor relation to academic
education andÉ there is now a vital need for a minister to champion vocational
education," said Humphries. "If business is to compete and we are to
raise our game as individuals, we need nothing less than the renaissance of
vocational education and a minister to make sure it happens."

Powell, chief executive of the NTO National Council, voiced his support for
Humphries’ demands, saying that nothing short of a radical move was required.

75 per cent of all learning takes place on the job, yet the status and priority
level currently attached to workplace learning does not equate to that directed
to schools and education," said Powell. "This ‘academic apartheid’
poses a very real threat to the UK’s ability to advance its skills and compete
in the world marketplace. A new ministerial post for vocational education and
training would help focus efforts on generating and fine-tuning the skills
needed by each sector of the UK’s economy."

Messenger, chief executive of NEBS Management, said, "David Blunkett’s
[Education and Employment Secretary] efforts were successful because he comes
from an education background. But we need the other half of the partnership,
someone with experience in vocational training who can provide strong

a spokeswoman for Edexcel, which provides both academic and vocational
education, said the organisation believed a separate minister for vocational
education could be unnecessary.

Pattison-Dick said the Labour Government had introduced a number of initiatives
to put job-related training on an equal footing with academic qualifications,
including the introduction of vocational A-levels and NVQs.

are not endorsing calls for a separate minister as we have welcomed recent
moves to make vocational education more widely available,"said

Sarah-Jane North

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