Document Abstract

Vocation, vocation, vocation: the role of vocational routes into higher education

Examines the role played by vocational education in preparing young people for higher education, and considers the ways in which students can be helped to pursue the most appropriate learning and career path. Uses the term ‘vocational’ to describe non-academic paths. Draws on data obtained from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), discussions with university admission teams, and analysis of access agreements from universities ranked within the UK’s top 20. Notes that 26% of all university applicants from England have studied at least one Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification at Level 3. Finds that, of those accepted into a higher education institute, students were more likely to enter with a vocational qualification if: they previously lived in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands; they come from an ethnic minority background; their parents work(ed) in routine or manual occupations; and they come from an area that sends a low proportion of its young people to university. Makes a series of recommendations including that further and higher education institutions should work much more closely together, particularly on progression routes. Presents case studies of Sheffield University’s initiatives to improve the transition into higher education for BTEC students, and Brunel University’s work with a local college to create an ‘education exchange’.


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Gicheva, Nicole; Petrie, Kathryn
Ref No:
Social Market Foundation (SMF)

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