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.
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