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Vocational Education

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the comparative returns to the economy of (a) uncertified employer purchased training and (b) low level vocational qualification bearing education and training; and if he will make a statement. (174261)

I have been asked to reply.

There is insufficient data on uncertified employer purchased training, and its link to wages, employment and productivity, to allow such a comparison to be carried out. From our research on national vocational qualifications level 2 qualifications however, we do know that vocational qualifications can provide higher returns when they are delivered through the workplace, particularly for men1.

The Department will continue to monitor the returns to education and training, both through commissioned research and through internal analysis of data. It is vital that we gain as full an understanding as possible of the returns to training and qualifications. This will enable us to make sure that the qualifications we deliver in future provide economically valuable skills for individuals, employers and the economy as a whole, and help us to achieve the ambitions for a high-skilled work force set out in the Leitch report on skills.

1 See Dearden et al (2000): The returns to Academic, Vocational and Basic Skills in Britain. Skills Task Force Research Paper 20, and Jenkins et al (2007): The Returns to Qualifications in England, Updating the Evidence Base on Level 2 and Level 3 Vocational Qualifications. CEE Discussion Paper No. 89.