The Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond has announced a package of skills-related spending as part of his Spring Statement.
The measures include £500m for T-levels and £50m to help employers roll out placements for T-level students. In addition, the Government has committed to provide £80m to support small businesses engaging apprenticeships.
The announcements come as part of the Government's Post-16 Skills Plan deriving from the 2016 Sainsbury review of technical education. This will essentially narrow the options of 16 year-olds to remaining in academic education by doing A-Levels; joining an apprenticeship scheme or taking one of 15 so-called ‘T-Levels’ or technical pathways (including engineering) towards a standardised vocational qualification.
Peter Finegold, head of education policy at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said in response to the Spring Statement 2018: “We support the Chancellor’s £500m commitment to the introduction of T-levels, with a specific commitment of £50m to prepare work placements – since this is a major hurdle to be overcome if the proposed scheme is to succeed.
“But there is still a good deal of work to be done in changing perceptions in our schools that would allow technical training to be viewed as equivalent to academic study – especially among teachers.”
The new measures will begin to come into effect in 2020.