IoD calls for retention of BTEC funding moratorium in the Skills Bill

Ahead of Monday’s Second Reading of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill in the House of Commons, the Institute of Directors is calling on the government to accept the Lords amendment to delay the withdrawal of funding for level three technical education qualifications.

Alex Hall-Chen, Senior Policy Advisor at the IoD, said:

“Delaying the withdrawal of funding for level three technical education qualifications will help businesses to access the technical skills that they need while T Levels are embedded in the skills landscape.

“We support the Government’s skills strategy and the introduction of T levels as high quality, employer-led technical qualifications. However, now is not the time to remove funding from level three BTEC and other vocational qualifications.

“With the first cohort of T Level students having started their courses in September 2020, a period of evaluation is needed to ensure that these new qualifications and their design fully meet the needs of all students who wish to study for a level three technical qualification. BTECs are an important route to skilled employment and higher education for many young people, particularly those from low-income families and with special educational needs and disabilities. Withdrawing funding for these courses risks destabilising the qualifications market and leaving some young people without an appropriate alternative pathway, at a time when many employers are experiencing considerable skills and labour market shortages.

“We welcome the requirement for T Level students to complete an industry placement as an excellent way for students to learn many of the skills required to be successful in their chosen careers. We will continue to work with government to raise awareness and increase capacity among employers to offer T Level placements. However, with many businesses still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, it will take time for them to be able to provide the volume of placements required to make T Levels a viable route for every young person. Therefore, T Levels and applied general qualifications should continue to operate alongside each other for a period of time, to ensure that no student falls through the gap.”