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Apprenticeships for 14-year-olds – Policy Exchange

Apprenticeships should last for three years and be as demanding as A-levels, the think tank Policy Exchange has argued.

Making longer apprenticeships available to pupils from the age of 14 could provide a robust alternative to the current focus on academic skills, the report states.

‘Technical Matters’ highlights that there are many children who would be better suited to vocational training who are being encouraged to take A-levels.

Policy Exchange is calling for more independent educational and careers advice, with new funding arrangements to incentivise sixth forms against keeping all students on for A-levels.

The new ‘TechBacc’ or ‘VocBacc’ must ensure what is taught is relevant and useful, genuinely training people in a new role, the think tank added.

The report said: “There are some for whom an alternative route with a greater emphasis on practical and applied learning may better meet their needs.”

Lead author Dr Owen Corrigan explained: “An alternative technical route through the education system could benefit the many students whose needs are not currently being met, as well as employers who complain about skills shortages, especially in science and technology areas.

“We're also introducing a technical baccalaureate that will recognise the best vocational qualifications and we're allowing the best colleges to take on 14-16-year-olds to study courses taught by industry specialists.”

Skills minister Matthew Hancock responded: “We strongly agree that vocational education needs transforming.”

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