Lord Baker’s aspiration for vocational learning: Plans to create a network of 25 “Career Colleges”

25 August 2015

Former Education Secretary Lord Kenneth Baker has revealed plans to open a network of 25 “career colleges” within the next four years. The expansion of “career colleges” is just one of Lord Baker’s latest moves to expand vocational education, following the role-out of 17 University Technical Colleges across the United Kingdom.

The colleges, which are for teenagers from 14 to 19 years old and shall be based within existing further educational colleges, will seek to address the United Kingdom’s shortage of key skills, by training students in a range of occupational jobs, such as digital technology, construction, catering, engineering and health care, whilst preparing them for their future careers.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnado’s expressed his support for the career college’s expansion to The Independent:

“Not every child is academic. Schools should focus on educating children for life, not merely to pass exams. Competition is fierce for first jobs out of school, college and university. Work experience and life skills learned in education really help young people make the grade in work”.

The plans correspond with growing disbelief that the current academic system effectively prepares students for the labour market, with recent research by the Career Colleges Organisation showing that 76 percent of students believe their schools are too focused on academic success within exams, whilst 81 percent believe education should expand its focus on employment outcomes.