FT: Letter to the editor – Vocation v academic is a false dichotomy

Read our letter to the Financial Times following recent coverage on the role of universities and colleges in delivering a skilled workforce for the UK.

Sir, We disagree with Baroness Alison Wolf’s claim that the “UK’s education system was too skewed towards universities” (“UK employers warned of ‘mass exodus’ of skills as workers retire”, June 25). Many universities, including all in the University Alliance, are providing highly technical training — including to people already in the workforce — to meet the need for skilled workers. They also work closely with schools and colleges to form an effective skills ecosystem.

Of course more needs to be done to create smoother progression routes between institutions, and accord vocational and academic education parity of esteem. But we must pull down the false dichotomy that exists between further and higher education. It is not an either/or debate, and setting the sectors up in opposition to each other will not help us meet the nation’s need for skills, especially in the context of tight public funding.

Maddalaine Ansell

Chief Executive,

University Alliance,

London SW1, UK

Further reading