Justine Greening has called for more “industry experts” to become college teachers to deliver T levels.
Speaking at the Skills Summit at the Department for Education today, the education secretary called for a “new alliance” between business and education to form a “deep, strategic, mutually beneficial partnership”.
“This is a government that believes in business – we see you as the solution,” Ms Greening told employers at this morning’s event.
“I’d also like to see more industry experts actually going into colleges and teaching,” she added. “What more credible voice is there for a young person in a college that a person who is part of the industry they are interested in?”
A “culture change” in businesses was needed to deliver young people with the skills they require, Ms Greening told the audience.
“This is about a culture change for business, a mindset shift. And if we really are going to have a skills revolution in our country, it cannot be business as usual.
“We all talk to them and they are crying out for these opportunities. But the reality is that not enough businesses are, at present, offering them. I want young people to see business as the solution to get the education and opportunities they want. I believe that business can be a broader force for good in our country.”
She added: “Britain has got talent and it’s spread evenly across the country - the problem is that opportunity isn’t.”
Ms Greening said that the three-month work placements built into T levels were a “vital” component of the programme, and called on employers to make them a success.
Aligned to local economy
When asked by Tes after the event about concerns raised in the sector about how young people in rural areas may not have access to the same work experience opportunities as their peers in cities, Ms Greening insisted that there should be “a universal offer on opportunity” – but that provision should be aligned to the local economy.
“I think that’s important, that young people know wherever they are growing up, there’s a consistency of what they can access in terms of technical education.
“At the same time, we need to make sure we knit together FE colleges and local employers much more closely, so that when you’re training in your local college you are training in a T level in a skill that… your local economy will need as well.”