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Ed Miliband speech to the Sutton Trust

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, in a speech at the Sutton Trust on vocational education, said:

It is excellent to be here with you today.

I want to praise the Sutton Trust for the incredible work it has done over the years in promoting opportunity.

And I want to praise Peter Lampl in particular for the leadership he has shown.

Today, our country faces a huge economic challenge: how we create the decent jobs at good wages that can ensure people can build a better life for themselves and their families.

From that we face a huge challenge around people’s hopes for the future.

For the first time parents fear their children will have a worse life than them, the Promise of Britain being broken.

And we face a huge educational challenge: how we create opportunity for all our young people and not just some.

These challenges are connected: because there is no solution to the economic challenges we face, and the challenge of giving people hope for the future without giving opportunities to all our young people.

For too long our country has believed there is only one route to success.

To follow the conventional academic route.

Do GCSEs, A-levels, a traditional academic subject at university and then on to a career.

And working alongside the Sutton Trust and others, the last Labour government made sure that this route worked for more people than ever before.

With improved quality at school.

And with a crucial expansion of those going to university.

But we know that conventional academic route doesn’t work for everyone.

And the kind of aspiration we need to succeed cannot be limited to some and not all.

We must be One Nation, not two.

Think about a fourteen year-old at school, considering their career for the first time.

At the moment there is no clear pathway if they don’t want to go the conventional academic route.

What is the gold-standard vocational qualification they should be doing?

What is the career path that they can see in front of them?

What do they need to do to get there?

We know other countries do much better than us.

In Germany, there are proper, joined-up qualifications at every level.

Pathways on to apprenticeships and careers.

We cannot afford to allow people’s talents to go undeveloped and their hopes unfulfilled.

The government I plan to lead in ten months’ time will have a clear focus on addressing these deep, long-standing problems in our education system.

We’ll create a proper route to the best educational qualifications for all our young people.

We will introduce a new Technical Baccalaureate for 16-19 year olds, a real gold-standard vocational qualification.

We’ll make sure everyone does English and Maths until 18.

We’ll improve the quality of apprenticeships and give employers real control over the money used for training so that the skills young people learn are the skills that will set them up for a career.

And I can announce today, that we will go one step further too.

As the culmination of our reform agenda for the forgotten 50 per cent who do not currently go to university, the next Labour government will work with our companies and our universities to develop new Technical Degrees.

This is not currently the priority of our universities because it has never been the priority of government.

We are determined to change that.

My priority for expansion of university places will be Technical Degrees designed together by some of our best universities and our leading employers.

Teaching people the skills they really need to prosper in the new economy.

Working in areas like design, engineering and ICT.

And learning not just at university for academic excellence but also in the workplace for practical, vocational excellence too.

I believe that those young people who have excelled at Tech Baccs and excelled at apprenticeships should be able to take it a stage further.

By doing Technical Degrees at university.

This is a new direction for our country.

For the first time, those who have succeeded in vocational education and training will be able to progress further.

For the first time, young people will have the chance to earn while they learn at university, with a degree that provides a clear route to a high-skilled technical or professional career.

For the first time, there will be vocational qualifications of equal standing at school, university and beyond.

Britain’s young people need better than they get right now.

And our economy does too.

There is an exciting vision for the future within our grasp.

A Britain which succeeds with the next generation working for a new generation of industries.

This is a vision of Britain which succeeds by doing what we have done best over the centuries: working hard, making, building, inventing and selling products and services.

And by making these reforms we can equip our young people with the skills they need.

Providing parents with a reason to be confident for the future.

Enabling us to create the new high-skill, high-wage jobs.

And compete in the race to the top with the best in the world.

It is a future I look forward to building together.

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