IfATE is holding a special event in the House of Lords today (June 13) to unveil our report on plans to unite and simplify the skills system, improving access to vital training for businesses and people from all backgrounds.

We are also officially launching new occupational maps, which will be important for making the plan work, making it easier than ever to check out options to train for a job then progress to senior skills levels on tablets and mobile phones.

Through IfATE’s Big Conversation with over 2,000 employers and skills users last year, IfATE heard that the skills system is still too complex to understand and difficult to navigate.

The Simpler Skills System report sets out key commitments to address these challenges.

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of IfATE, said: “Apprenticeships and technical education have come of age and are now primed to create the workforce our nation needs to boost economic recovery and capitalise on emerging digital and sustainable skills opportunities.
“Since we launched, IfATE has been working with employer to put the building blocks in place to make this happen. Over the past six months we’ve been speaking with thousands of businesses, learners, awarding organisations, and training providers about how we can further simplify the skills system to make sure everyone engages and benefits.
“There are so many great options for employers to grow their own skills and learners to climb onto the ladder of opportunity. The time is right to unite around a simpler system that delivers businesses’ training needs and supports people from all backgrounds to maximise their potential.”

There are now over 670 world-class apprenticeships, which involve mostly learning at work but also for the more technical aspects with a training provider, from level 3 (GCSE equivalent) to degree level. High quality new T Levels and Higher Technical Qualifications, which are mostly classroom-based, are also transforming things for the better. Everything is now designed by employers to make sure they deliver businesses’ current and future skills needs and are valuable to learners who learn skills that will help them progress their careers.

But we recognise that most businesses still do not employ apprentices or understand and use the wider skills training. Meanwhile, potential trainees and their families can find it extremely challenging to search through training choices and work out what would support them into skilled jobs and progress up the ladder or opportunity.

So, the problem is not with a lack of quality training, it is with access to a clear and user friendly system. IfATE’s new Simpler Skills System report will build from the reforms being successfully implemented through the government’s Skills for Jobs white paper and set out how to create a skills system which:

  • delivers on skills needs now and for the future: we will unite employers’ insights and learner needs, striking the ideal balance of improvement and stability in the system;
  • is clear and user-friendly: we will promote informed choices about the opportunities and support available to access training for all levels of skilled roles;
  • is joined up: we need to see everyone playing their part in making the system a success, knowing they will make the biggest difference together.

It also emerged from the Big Conversation that when businesses know apprenticeships and technical qualifications were created by employers, they have more confidence in them and are more likely to use them. 90% believe that employer involvement leads to more valuable qualifications for the workforce. We will therefore make it clearer that employers are at the heart of technical education.