The Labour leader will say that the degrees will be there to ensure that university is no longer reserved just for those who have gone down a traditional academic route. “These courses will be designed by some of our best universities and our leading employers, teaching people the skills they need to prosper in the new economy,” he is expected to say. “For the first time, those who have excelled in vocational education and training will be able to progress further. For the first time young people will have the chance to earn while they learn at university with a degree that provides a clear route to a high skilled technical or professional career. “For the first time employers will be able to employ people who see their long term future with the firm and then develop their specialist skills so they can succeed together.” Tim Thomas, Head of Employment Policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “The emphasis on technical degrees and baccalaureates will help raise the profile and status of vocational and technical qualifications. “While our industry needs graduates, it also needs more talented young people to see vocational-based training as an attractive alternative to academic study. “Technical qualifications, based on a partnership between employers and institutions, can help plug the skills gap and fill the pipeline of talent urgently needed by UK manufacturers.” Other measures Labour plans to introduce include the creation of a technical baccalaureate for 16-19 year olds, turning the best FE colleges into Institutes of Technical Education and a new requirement that apprenticeships be Level 3 qualification. “This is a new direction for our country: equal status for vocational qualifications from school to university and beyond; equipping our young people with the skills they need; and providing our country with a reason to be confident for the future so we can compete with the very best economies in the world in a race to the top,” Miliband will add.
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