A 'new norm' for FE

19th April 2013 at 01:00

It is appropriate that the National Union of Students has elected a non-graduate president in the same week that the National Apprenticeship Service revealed that employers across England consider higher apprentices more employable than those with other qualifications ("New NUS president is first without a degree"; "Higher apprentices named 'most employable' ", 12 April).

This reflects a change in the status of FE within the NUS and within our education sector more broadly. The value of high-quality vocational programmes is beginning to receive the public recognition it deserves and we are a step closer to establishing a "new norm" in the world of education and training. But it will not come without its challenges and, as new NUS president Toni Pearce rightly identifies, improvements in advice services and the loans system are important steps to ensuring greater accessibility and equality in education for all.

Jane Scott Paul, Chief executive, Association of Accounting Technicians.

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