i Editor's Letter: Career colleges


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The “career colleges” for teenagers announced to the public today (our cover story) should be welcomed – a possible remedy for some of the tens of thousands of students who are spat out of our schools every year with little interest in pursuing further study.

Current careers advice focuses too much on pushing  an academic future, rather than offering advice about vocational choices, the watchdog Ofsted said last month. Many of us will know people  who loathed school because they didn’t get it and it didn’t get them. Should we really be writing  them off at 14?

The architect of the new career colleges is Lord Baker, the evergreen former Education Secretary. He captures the current problem pretty succinctly, writing in today’s i: “We have one million young people unemployed and we are issuing visas to people from overseas who have the skills that are needed. It is about time that we filled the skills gap with our own young people.”

This is a chance to offer guidance and hope during those unnerving years when adults start asking you what you might want to do with your life – and also to raise the status of different industries and trades: construction, nursing, technology, engineering, hospitality, tourism, catering… wherever there are sponsors.

The really neat trick of the new career colleges is to combine the best of both worlds: national curriculum staples (English, maths and science at GCSE)  with technical study. It will  give people a running start for  the world of work. I hope they  take off.


Twitter.com: @olyduff