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Government publishes final list of vocational qualifications

The government has published the full list of approved subjects in vocational courses, marking the end of a four-year overhaul of technical and vocational qualifications.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced today that the list of subjects, which will be updated annually, will for the first time cover the full range of technical and vocational qualifications taught up to the age of 19.

It is hoped that the new subjects will provide clearer pathways into a range of careers, including engineering, hospitality, construction and social care.

The move followed a damning report by Professor Alison Wolf, which found that thousands of students were placed on vocational courses of “little value” in a bid by schools to boost their positions in league tables.

The study led to the removal of thousands of technical and vocational qualifications, with the number on offer now just 625, down from more than 5,000.

The qualifications announced today will be placed into three categories, including Technical Certificates, aimed at helping 16-19-year-olds into the skilled trades. The other categories are Technical Awards, for 14-16 year-olds and the A-level equivalent Tech Levels.

The latest qualifications will count in league tables from January 2017.

Skills minister Nick Boles said the government had stripped out “every single poor-quality course” and made sure that qualifications were of “the highest standard”.

“This is a sweeping change to vocational education that, combined with the two million new apprentices, will make sure that every young person has the best possible chance to really make a go of things,” he said.

Related stories: 

Colleges to track student progress after education as part of 'demanding' new regulations – 27 March 2014 

Vocational education research centre to be launched – 1 October 2014

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