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It is 'crucial' Government involves employers in any changes to A-level system, says CBI

David Woods , 05 Apr 2012

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Employers should be given more say in the design of A-level qualifications, the CBI has said following proposals to change the system were put forward by the education secretary.

The education secretary, Michael Gove (pictured), has proposed a shake-up to the A level system, to give universities more control over the design and development of the exams, in a letter to the exam regulator Ofqual.

But responding to the letter, and publishing its own research, Ofqual reports employers have called for the exms to be changed so school leavers can "hit the ground running" when they start work should they choose not to attend university.

Glenys Stacey, Ofqual's chief regulator, said: "Ofqual welcomes the intention to give universities a larger role in the design and development of A-levels.

"We have been working with DfE on this, and will be publishing shortly our reply to the Secretary of State's letter, as well as a research report into HE views of A levels.

"We want A levels to be the best possible preparation for young people's futures. We have spoken to employers, those in schools and in higher education and they tell us that A levels need to cover sufficient depth and breadth so that students can hit the ground running when they go on to the next stage of their lives.

"We think that universities have a big role to play in making sure they do. We have also compared A levels with qualifications in other countries.

"We will now continue our consultations with higher education, colleges and schools and others to make sure our A levels are the best they can be."

Neil Bentley, CBI deputy director-general, said: "The debate on improving standards is welcome, but focus should not just be on how best to prepare young people for university, but also how to ensure they are well-equipped for work.

"Many young people choose to go straight into a job after A-levels, or start an apprenticeship, so they need to have developed essential employability skills, such as team working and time management, as well as academic rigour.

"Businesses value the A-level system as a key benchmark for recruiting the right young people, but believe that there is room for improvement. It's crucial that the Government involves employers in any future changes to the system."

 

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Employers should be included in decisions on A levels

Janet North 19 Apr 2012

I agree that employers should have more say on the design of academic qualifications. For too long this has rested in the hands of the academics, who by their very nature, have no first hand experience of business and it's needs. Every attempt in the past has been shanghaied by academics and buried in their own world of 'only teachers understand education'. It shouldn't however be about creating 'fad' subjects A levels have two potential outcomes, one direct into work and one in to further study and has to be of benefit to both areas.

Speaking from a WBLA perspective.

Robin Haydock 20 Apr 2012

I work in the WBLA sector as a trainer and my main role is to support long term unemployed adults into employment. There is a definite skills mismatch between the jobs that are out there (they are out there) and the skills (or lack of) of the client group. Those who do have qualifications do not always have the sought after skills. This needs to be looked at not only at A Level, but below.

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