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Manchester MP welcomes tech-levels

The introduction of tech-levels will give a much-needed boost to vocational training in the UK, according to a Manchester MP.

The qualifications, aimed at equipping the next generation of skilled workers such as gas fitters, electricians and other tradespeople, were welcomed by Manchester Withington MP, John Leech.

He told the Manchester Gazette: “The involvement of employers in vocational training is something to be celebrated. This will mean that young people will be able to gain qualifications that are really valued in today’s job market, helping them get on in life.”

Tech-levels will move much of the focus from classroom studying to practical training in more than 140 subjects, and will be the equivalent of a GCSE qualification.

The new qualifications, which will be introduced in England this year, have also won backing from employers as an improvement on the current range of vocational courses that are available.

Each of the 143 tech-levels will be associated with a relevant business or trade association. They were introduced following the 2011 review into vocation education by Prof Alison Wolf, which suggested that the current system was failing young people. She told the BBC that the new tech-levels “serve the needs of motivated and ambitious young people, of employers, and of the country as a whole”.

The Government is confident that the new system will provide trades with new recruits with the skills they need. It is designed to fill the skills gap that has appeared in trades such as construction, as the sector recovers from the economic downturn in 2008.

Young people will also be able to clearly see which course is back by the industry they are keen to enter. The first tech-levels will be completed in 2016 and the results will be used in school performance tables from 2017.