Teachers would be required to “spend time in industry every year” to refresh their skills and experience and identify skills gaps, under proposals from the Labour party.
The plans are part of Labour’s ‘One Nation Skills Taskforce Interim Report: Driving up standards in further education colleges’, which are designed to match business needs with skills development.
All new FE teachers would also be required to have at least Level 2 (GCSE A*- C) English and maths qualifications.
The Skills Taskforce, chaired by professor Chris Husbands, director of the Institute of Education, identified major problems in the UK’s existing skills system such as low levels of employer involvement, a lack of high quality apprenticeships and poor careers advice for making the transition between education and work.
“Skills matter,” said Husbands. “The 21st century will make enormous demands on levels of skill as economies change. We must get our skills policy and our skills infrastructure right if we are to prepare our economy for the future. But more than this, getting skills right matters for workers and citizens too.”
Stephen Twigg, shadow education secretary, said: “While some colleges do a brilliant job, we are unapologetic in seeking higher standards in vocational education and training. We would be relentless in driving up the quality of teaching in FE, particularly in English and maths, where we would expect all college teachers to have a minimum of Level 2, the equivalent of GCSE A*- C.”
He said that the current government had failed to ensure that young people have high quality vocational options and are unable to gain the skills they need.
In April the government announced it would launch a new technical baccalaureate, starting next year, to put vocational education on a par with A Levels.
But the Department for Education said that the TechBacc is not a qualification, instead describing it as “a performance measure marking achievement by young people aged 16 to 19”.
At the time skills minister Matthew Hancock said that TechBaccs “will incentivise the development of high quality courses and incentivise schools and colleges to offer the courses that get young people on in life”.