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06 December 2018

Technical education reforms get pass mark from small businesses

Responding to Damian Hinds Secretary of State for Education’s Speech on Technical Education, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said: “Today’s measures are a positive move in trying to improve the nation’s technical education system. This is particularly important for our smaller businesses with our research showing that 50 per cent of smaller businesses think that technical skills are the most important for their future growth.

“Reforms of the pupil destination measure to include technical training is a step towards building equality between academic and technical education. To truly create a world class technical education system, it is vital that the new T-levels are embraced by those who are going to drive them – small businesses.

“Offering 45-day work placements is a big ask for small employers and the Government must provide clear financial incentives and guidance to enable small firms, especially those in rural, coastal and remote areas, to do so. It cannot be forgotten that many small businesses simply do not have the time or resources to take away from their day-to-day business and provide meaningful placements to someone new in the workplace.

“The Government should match the industry placement fund for providers of T-levels for small employers to ensure they are able to deliver high quality industry placements. Without small firms’ support, the T-level system will fail at the first hurdle.

“If we are to foster local growth, it is important that we are able to identify and assess what skills are needed in the local area. The Skills Advisory Panel must put small businesses at the heart of the local partnerships if we truly want to address mis-matches between skills supply and employer demand to deliver the skills needed for our local businesses.”