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UK ahead on vocation

Eight out of 10 people participate in vocational education and training in the UK compared to an average European rate of around 53 per cent, according to the latest European Commission report card. The UK is, by a considerable margin, delivering more vocational education and training (VET) than its European competitors, according to Progress Towards the Lisbon Objectives in Education and Training - Indicators and Benchmarks Report 2009. Much of this success is thought to be due to work- based learning, says the commisison. However, the picture is less rosy on participation rates in vocational prgrammes at level 3 as a percentage of all level 3 students. Here the UK's participation rate falls to 41 per cent, compared to an EU average of nearly 52 per cent. More worrying still is the 38.5 per cent fall - the biggest in the EU - in the proportion of people in the UK, broadly 16 to 18-year-olds, studying level 3 vocational qualifications as a percentage of all level 3s.

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