What the 2023 King’s Speech means for educational pathways into engineering

Nov 8, 2023

EngineeringUK King's Speech 2023 response

The King’s Speech of 7 November 2023 outlined the government's legislative programme for the upcoming parliamentary session. With our focus on promoting diverse pathways into engineering and technology careers, we were particularly interested by the noticeable absence of new bills directly related to education and skills policy.

However, a commitment was made towards the future of British education with the announcement of the Advanced British Standard (ABS). The introduction of the ABS is set to be a landmark shift in the way education is delivered, aimed at boosting the skills and employability of the UK’s youth. This initiative reflects a broader commitment to modernise and adapt educational outcomes to meet the evolving demands of the workforce.

The proposed ABS framework is set to combine the academic and vocational pathways, bringing together both A levels and T Levels into a singular, qualification. The King also described plans to encourage more young people to start high-level apprenticeships and to scale back the number of students pursuing poor quality university degrees.

In response to the proposed ABS, Beatrice Barleon, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at EngineeringUK, commented:

"We welcome the government's commitment to enhancing the quality of education for young people and look forward to working with the government on developing the Advanced British Standard. It is vital that in developing the new qualification, the government is clear how T Levels will be integrated into the new Standard and communicates this to young people and employers along the way.

“We also urge government to work closely with the engineering sector on developing the maths element of the new qualification to ensure that it is fit for purpose and will enable more young people to access engineering apprenticeships and higher education courses going forward.”

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