The government has unveiled 12 Institutes of Technology with the aim of providing a vocational alternative to university.

The move will see young people receiving high-quality skills training in England.

The Institutes will be based around universities and colleges with support from various local employers.

Of the 12 new Institutes, four are in London, two are located in the West Midlands with the remaining six in York, Exeter, Swindon, Durham, Milton Keynes and Somerset.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the new institutions will help counter the ‘outdated perceptions’ that were biased against the delivery of vocational skills.

However, the plans have been criticised by Labour for being ‘too small-scale’ and they will not help ‘the majority of students’ who are currently in technical education.

Vocational training has not been receiving enough funding

The move follows growing criticism that vocational training has not been receiving enough funding with more status being attached to those who take an academic path through GCSEs and then A-levels and on to a university.

The government’s aim of introducing a network of Institutes of Technology is to create a high-quality route for young people that is compatible to going to university to gain technical qualifications and skills.

The Institutes will begin operating from the autumn and will receive government support worth £170 million.

Each of the Institutes will have an industry specialism and will be based in universities and further education colleges using the expertise of employers.

Plans for Institutes of Technology

As an example, the government says that their plans for Institutes of Technology for Durham involve various local colleges, along with the carmaker Nissan and Newcastle University to deliver digital advanced manufacturing skills.

In London, the University of London is leading a group with employers, including Siemens and Newham College to deliver transport and engineering specialisms.

The Institutes have been introduced after various organisations have highlighted that by international standards, the country has relatively few people trained with advanced vocational skills.

And next year, there’s the introduction of the ‘T-level’, the new technical qualification which is an attempt to create the vocational equivalent to an A-level.

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, said: “The new Institutes will help end outdated perceptions that the only desirable route is to go to university and we will build a system that will harness the talents of young people.

“I believe education is key to opening up opportunity and to give everyone the skills they need to succeed and we need a training and education system that is more flexible and diverse.”

‘Expanding high-quality training and technical education’

The CBI’s policy director, Matthew Ferrell, said: “Expanding high-quality training and technical education is a priority for employers who will welcome this extra investment.”

Education secretary Damian Hinds hailed the Institutes for offering the ‘pinnacle of technical training’.

He said: “These students will ensure young people have the skills for building a rewarding and well-paid career and the economy will gain the skilled workers that it needs.”