This is according to a report commissioned by the City & Guilds Group.
Additionally, the researchers found that a 10 percentage point increase in the number of upper secondary school pupils enrolled in vocational education could lead to a 1.5 percentage point reduction in youth unemployment in the UK.
The net annual business benefit of training an apprentice in Britain in 2013/14 was found to be £1,500 per annum, and UK apprenticeships have a return on government investment of £16 to £21 for every £1 invested.
However, the research reports that an obstacle is the stigma surrounding vocational education. People often demote it to second choice after academic routes such as university.
Chief executive of the City & Guilds Group Chris Jones said the report demonstrates that investing in professional and technical education is a safe bet for individuals, employers and economies. “It helps to fill skills gaps, boost productivity, enhance industries and increase employment,” he said.
“However, while professional and technical education offers so much potential there are still challenges getting in the way – from too little data on the benefits of skills education to overly complex skills systems and minimal employer involvement. Governments across the world need to understand these issues and work with employers and education providers to tackle them head-on."
Scott Corfe, associate director at the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), said that investing in training could provide a boost to the economy. “The UK could boost its GDP by £163 billion by 2025 if it increased training in professional and technical skills by 10%,” he said. “This, coupled with the decrease in unemployment, will put the UK in a strong position for the future.
“There is a clear case for investing in professional and technical education, so I hope governments, businesses and employers stand up, take notice and invest in tomorrow’s workforce,” he added.