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Pearson's Bristow welcomes govt's engineering courses

The president of Pearson UK Rod Bristow has come out in support of the government’s plans to introduce courses in engineering and construction, while pledging the company would create “world class” vocational qualifications.

The department of education has announced it will develop seven qualifications in engineering and construction with the help of engineers from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Under the plans, students will be able to earn four diplomas, each equivalent to four GCSEs. However, in a further overhaul, the government has also said vocational qualifications of “limited value” would be cut from A level league tables.

Bristow welcomed the government’s plans. He said: “At a time when the demands of higher education and the needs of employers are changing rapidly, it is right that we should be reviewing vocational qualifications, just as we are academic qualifications.

"Young people deserve assurance that the qualifications they take in school or at college will give them the knowledge and skills they need to go on and meet their ambitions, and will not close off opportunities.”

He added that Pearson intended to create “world class” vocational qualifications “which empower young people to progress and to compete with their peers globally, in higher education and in work".

The government’s skills minister Matthew Hancock said: "For vocational education to be valued and held in high esteem we must be uncompromising about its quality. Vocational qualifications must be stretching and strong. At the moment too many students are spending time working hard, but getting nowhere. This is not their fault. The vocational courses they are taking have limited value in the jobs market.”

In August, Pearson announced it was to launch Pearson College, a diversifying move into the higher education college business. A pilot of 40 students are currently undertaking a BSc degree in business and enterprise at the college.