NASUWT on University Technical Colleges (UCT’s) announcement

Commenting on the announcement today of a new wave of specialist University Technical Colleges (UTCs), Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Greater commitment to vocational education is particularly important at a time of rising unemployment levels amongst school and college leavers.

“However, the establishment of UTCs risks diverting funding from existing school and college provision and could narrow the range of educational opportunities available for young people in an area.

“The NASUWT is concerned that the axing of funding for Education Maintenance Allowances will also mean that fewer young people will continue to participate in education and training after the age of 16, making a mockery of today’s announcement on UTCs.

“The development of UTCs could result in young people being encouraged to make decisions about their future learning at too early a stage and in a way that could reduce their employment chances later on. Many 14-year olds simply will not be ready for such life-changing decisions.

“Employers need to take a proper role in supporting education and training for the workforce. It could prove to be counter-productive for taxpayers to be financing the provision of work-related training when employers are less committed to supporting workforce training in practice.

“Employers need to put their money where their mouths are by contributing properly to funding vocational training opportunities and by providing decent job opportunities for young people when they leave school and college.”