The Journal Opinion: Vocational qualifications should be more valuable than many degrees

The Journal's opinion column for Monday, October 13, in which we back calls for vocational qualifications to be given more prestige

Alan Milburn speaking at the Schools North East Summit 2014
Alan Milburn speaking at the Schools North East Summit 2014

The Schools North East summit in Newcastle has tackled some questions that are vital for the UK as a whole and the North East in particular.

Some good sense has been spoken, especially about vocational qualifications. These still savour of second class qualifications even to those, like Tristram Hunt, who should know better.

Yet vocational qualifications should be hugely valuable, more valuable even than many degrees.

For the point of qualifications in almost every case is to provide the student with a pathway to a job. By its very nature, that pathway is defined more clearly by a vocational qualification than by any other.

Natasha Porter, the deputy head of education at Policy Exchange, who addressed this point at the summit, said she would be interested to see the manifesto for all political parties on this subject.

She’s right about that. This is a nettle that the politicians have to grasp.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer