T-Levels must match A-Levels if we are to ensure that technical education has ‘parity of esteem’ with the more academic route, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Responding to the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement, Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The Chancellor clearly understands that the UK won’t address the productivity challenge unless we rethink our approach to technical and vocational education. T-Levels could be the answer if they genuinely rival A-Levels in the eyes of parents, teachers and young people. UK society as a whole has been guilty of putting too much emphasis on the academic route – this has made it more difficult for vital sectors like construction and house building to attract the talented people we need. In construction, we are suffering from a severe skills shortage and this is likely to worsen once we leave the EU and no longer have easy access to European labour. This £500 million funding announced today for T-Levels is therefore a welcome and much-needed boost.”
Berry concluded: “The Budget was an all-round strong performance from the Chancellor and he had good news to report right across the piece. However, increasing tax on the self-employed is not helpful. If we want to establish a resilient, Brexit-proof economy, we must encourage and support our current and future entrepreneurs in the construction industry and beyond. A jump in National Insurance Contributions from 1% to 10% next year could send the wrong message to those individuals who are considering going it alone. The self-employed are the backbone of our economy and the government should tread carefully here.”