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Vocational Education

A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 11 Nov 2019

The role and status of vocational education in the UK is explored in this video.

Vocational Education


Vocational education is an alternative to academic education and focuses on preparing pupils for work in a particular industry or field of employment.

Influenced by new vocationalism in the 1970s, the following decade saw the growth of vocational qualifications such as GNVQs and BTECs in subject areas such as bricklaying, hairdressing, childcare or travel and tourism.

Stereotypically this form of education is seen as being of lesser value compared with academic qualifications. Traditionally working-class pupils are more likely to be enrolled on these courses than middle-class pupils.

Governments regularly try to reboot vocational education and try to achieve parity of esteem between vocational and academic qualifications. In 2016 the Conservative Government pushed for vocational education to be seen as an alternative to university based education by offering apprenticeships to job sectors which may not be accessible without a degree. For example; there are apprenticeships in engineering, accountancy and software engineering. There is also a proposal of new T Levels to replace BTECs.

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