On 11 October, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that the first three subjects available for T-levels from 2020 will include construction, digital technology and childcare.
Justine Greening, secretary of state for education, said:
“As we prepare to leave the EU, it is more important than ever that we create an outstanding further education and skills system, giving all young people the opportunity to fulfil their potential and deliver a better future for our country.”
The content of construction T-levels will be developed by a panel of industry professionals including Morgan Sindall and Skanska.
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) thinks that the Government’s announcement is a positive first step in the right direction, but more could be done to include small and medium-sized firms in the process.
The Government has displayed a track record of devising policies that do not exploit the full potential of SMEs, only to eventually retrofit those policies to include SMEs. This will never be as good an approach as including SMEs from the outset.
Morgan Sindall’s and Skanska’s approach to this task might be laudable, but it is not exactly SME-friendly.
Construction SMEs train and retain two-thirds of all industry workers and make a significant contribution to their local communities. For every £1 invested with an SME, 90p remains locally to hire local workers, train local apprentices and grow the local economy.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:
“The make-up of the panel developing the content of construction T-levels should be more representative, with SMEs playing a more predominant role since they account for 98 per cent of the industry.”