The government is to launch a new set of “T-level” qualifications aimed at establishing parity between academic and technical routes, according to reports.
The current system, where students pick from 13,000 different qualifications, will be replaced with just 15 standalone courses, dubbed “T-levels”, The Sunday Telegraph has reported.
Creating the 15 routes was one of the key recommendations of Lord Sainsbury's review into technical education.
According to the newspaper possible titles for the 15 courses include engineering and manufacturing, business and administration, catering and hospitality, construction and social care.
A Treasury source linked the announcement to boosting Britain’s productivity ahead of Brexit.
“Now that we’re leaving Europe, we really need to up our game on this stuff. We cannot wait. We will soon be competing with every other country Brexit,” the source told the paper.
The rebranding of technical qualifications is part of a wider package on post-16 skills, which includes the commitment of an extra £500 million each year to increase the amount of training available for 16- to 19-year olds on the courses to over 900 hours a year.
The reformed T-levels are expected to be unveiled by Philip Hammond in Wednesday’s Budget.
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the morning, the chancellor said the country needed to do “significantly more in training and up-skilling our young people”, and “establish genuine parity of esteem” between academic and technical routes.
He said the government would “create a technical route which is as rigorous, as clear… and as well understood as the academic route is”.
It is hoped the T-level courses will be rolled out from 2019 and completed by 2020.
A Treasury source claimed it was “the most ambitious post-16 education reform since the introduction of A-levels 70 years ago”.