In the final episode of the current series of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson talk to Sandra McNally, Professor of Economics at the University of Surrey and Director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research. When it comes to education, much of the public debate and media attention focuses on the traditional academic route of A-levels and University. But what about the 50% of young people who don’t ever go to University – what are the options for them and are they as consistently neglected by policymakers as they are by the media and wider public? Sandra explains the vocational route compared to the academic pathway and discusses the merits of vocational qualifications, highlighting recent evidence on their labour market returns. Franz, Matt and Sandra go on to discuss how the structure of the UK economy, the incentives for training and the priorities of young people and employers interact within the vocational system, asking what could be done to improve this education route for young people and older workers who wish to continue learning.
In this episode of Policy Matters, host Matt Dickson talks to Laura van der Erve from the Institute for Fiscal Studies about the merits of doing a university degree, and what recent evidence suggests are the relative labour market returns to degrees in different subjects at different institutions. With almost 50% of young people in England going on to Higher Education, and with tuition fees of £9,250 for most courses, it has never been more important to understand the impact on earnings of studying different subjects and at different HE institutions. Laura describes recent research from the IFS looking at graduate outcomes and explains some of the difficulties in pinning down the impact of a particular course on later earnings and employment. They then discuss social gradients in attending university and the extent to which inequalities have been impacted by changes in tuition fees. Finally, talk turns to thinking about the sorts of things students need to know in advance in order to make an informed decision about where to apply and what to study, how the government can help with this, and the limits of information provision as a policy.
In this episode of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson are joined by Professor Paul Gregg from the University of Bath to consider the prospects for today’s young people leaving education and entering the labour market. We hear a lot in the news about the job market challenges facing young people; and yet employment rates are at record levels, recent generations are the most educated ever with more and more people going to University and then enjoying a graduate wage premium – so what’s the problem? Paul provides an insight into how the economy has been changing over the last decade or so, the ways in which the recession following the 2007/8 financial crisis was unlike anything we’ve had before, and how young people have suffered the most. Matt and Franz then discuss with Paul the ways in which the challenges for policy are different now to what’s often been the case in the past, and consider what government policy can do to improve the prospects for young people today.
In this episode of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson are joined by Dr Lindsey Macmillan from University College London to discuss the role of education in social mobility. Issues relating to education are never far from the policy agenda or the headlines – whether it is early years education, university tuition fees or the possible return of grammar schools. But what does academic research tell us about the role of education at each age and stage in improving life-chances of children from poorer backgrounds, and what does this mean for policy? Franz and Matt discuss these issues with Lindsey; and also consider the limits as to what education policy can achieve, given the way that the UK labour market – and wider society – is structured.
In the first of this new series, Policy Matters, Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson discuss social mobility – what does it mean, how do we measure it, what is it like in the UK and why is it an important issue?
From Tony Blair to Theresa May, incoming prime ministers have talked boldly about the socially mobile Britain that their government will create, and social mobility has become a much-discussed topic in academia and public policy debates. But what would it mean to have a more socially mobile Britain, how could it be achieved, and what barriers stand in the way? Taking a broad overview of the topic, Franz and Matt consider their own personal mobility and why it is so difficult for the political rhetoric to be translated into effective policy.