Higher Technical Education Reform

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 8th July 2019.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Conservative, Worthing West 4:58 pm, 8th July 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for his statement. I very much agree that we have to make sure that employers, families and those who might take these qualifications will understand that we are making the greatest advance perhaps not in the last 70 years—perhaps in the last 110 years, since people like William Garnett started getting technical colleges going all over the country.

I hope that we will avoid the mistakes that were made a few years ago in the recognition of training centres, where Worthing College and Northbrook College, which is now part of the Met, in my constituency were disqualified from recognition because some stupid question had a tick-box exercise where, if the right word was not included, the college was disqualified. In the same way, no college in Birmingham was approved. That had to be put right. We have to watch what the apparent invigilators are doing and make sure that they see common sense in all they do.

Lastly, my hon. Friend’s advisers ought to look at the words by Graham Hasting-Evans of the charity NOCN in FE Week today about the importance of making sure that the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has the capacity to do the job it is being asked to do.