05 November 2012
New vocational engineering courses announced
New vocational courses in engineering are to be introduced in UK schools in 2014, Chancellor George Osborne has announced.
Speaking at the opening of a new state of the art Rolls-Royce apprenticeships academy in Derby, the Chancellor said the move would encourage more schools to offer engineering courses and help Britain 'thrive' in the global economy.
In January, the government controversially downgraded the value of the engineering diploma for 14-16 year olds from five GCSEs to one, a move that angered the likes of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The latter organisation has now been tasked with working with employers to re-design the Principal Learning element of the engineering diploma into four 'rigorous' qualifications, each equivalent to one GCSE. The new qualifications are likely to be included in the Key Stage 4 performance tables from 2016.
"If Britain is to compete and thrive in the global economy then we must lead the way in science and technology," said Chancellor George Osborne. "These new engineering qualifications will give young people the skills that they want, and that businesses need, to be at the forefront of this race."
Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock, added: "Today's news shows we are serious about backing engineering skills, which are vital for our economy and which set people on a path to prosperity."