Overshadowed by news of National Insurance rises and changes to tax and dividend allowances, the Spring Budget contained the announcement of new T-Levels, aimed at replacing existing vocational and technical with a streamlined set of new qualifications.
The government believes 13,000 existing courses can be slimmed down to 15, aiming to put technical qualifications on an equal footing with more academic subjects. One of these 15 will be a Construction T-Level.
Construction has an image crisis - we all recognise that in the industry.
Whether it's poor careers advice or a stigma that construction (defined as bricklaying and plumbing) is something you teach the naughty kids, we struggle to attract the brightest and best to the industry, and as such the UK is now one of the least productive and at the bottom of the technical education league table.
I welcome the move to simplify the options for students, but with previous initiatives such as the UTC programme failing to attract a new generation, I am not sure the renaming of qualifications goes far enough to change perceptions and help us meet the challenges our of industry's skills shortages.
The government suggest that technical education is confusing for students, with around 13,000 qualifications available, many of them of ‘little value’. Instead, new T-levels will be introduced, increasing the number of programme hours of training for 16-19 year olds on technical courses by more than 50%, and including the completion of a high-quality industry work placement.