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Vocational Education

Volume 554: debated on Monday 3 December 2012

School performance tables are being used to incentivise the teaching of the highest-value vocational qualifications. From September 2012, the vocational qualifications taught to 14 to 16-year-olds have had to meet rigorous new standards. From next year, we will identify the highest-value vocational qualifications for 16 to 18-year-olds, thereby removing thousands of weak and poor quality qualifications.

Will my hon. Friend ensure that employers have a greater role in designing the vocational qualifications that are taught in schools?

Yes, I absolutely will. I believe passionately that it is only when all vocational qualifications are high quality that all vocational qualifications are seen to be high quality. Employers have a critical role in making that happen.

The shadow Secretary of State and I recently visited Tresham college in my constituency of Corby and east Northamptonshire, where we met many apprentices who were not able to find work experience placements and, sadly, had little hope of local employment. What message of hope does the Minister have for those young people in my constituency?

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to questions, having welcomed his eloquent maiden speech on a similar subject. We are looking to introduce traineeships, which will include English and maths for those who do not have level 2 qualifications, work experience and work preparation. That will ensure that as many people as possible are ready for work and know how to get and hold down a job. That will be another step in our important efforts to tackle youth unemployment.