The figures, compiled through analysis of activity at Westminster since the 2010 General Election, showed that for every minute spent discussing vocational education, Parliamentarians spent four minutes discussing academic education.
The research was released following this year’s Lion Awards, which were celebrated at a glamorous red-carpet ceremony on Wednesday at the Roundhouse in London. The Lion Awards is City & Guilds’ most prestigious awards ceremony – which honours learners, tutors, centres and businesses who have achieved excellence through vocational education.
Local MP Andrew Gwynne said:
“I welcome the latest research by City & Guilds which analysed the amount of Parliamentary business that is attributed to vocational and academic education. Being able to bring the debate on vocational education and apprenticeships to the heart of Parliament is absolutely crucial to addressing some of the biggest challenges our skills economy and young people face.
“However, this analysis confirms that much more still needs to be done to ensure that vocational education is given greater Parliamentary Business time. Only this will raise awareness of the crucial role that vocational education plays in equipping people with the skills they need to enter employment and fill the ever-growing skills gaps.
“Following the success of yesterday’s VQ Day, this research serves as a timely reminder that renewed cross-party efforts are needed to debate vocational education and I look forward to engaging other Parliamentarians on this.”
Chris Jones, CEO and Director General of City & Guilds said:
“City & Guilds’ analysis shows that almost nine out of every ten Parliamentarians have an academic education, raising questions about how much policy-makers really understand about the value of vocational education. The latest figures from the Edge Foundation show that six million people took a vocational qualification in 2012 to improve their career prospects; it is vital that Parliamentarians represent everyone, not just those who choose the academic route.
“We also need to encourage more people with backgrounds in vocational education to pursue careers in politics, so that parliamentary debate can more evenly draw on a breadth of experience gained from every type of education route.”
The key findings from the research show:
- The time spent on all academic debates was over four times that spent on vocational education (88hrs 47mins compared to 20hrs 49mins)
- 510 MPs (87%) have an academic education whereas only 78 (13%) have some kind of vocational background
- Vocational education is predominantly a backbench preoccupation. Less than half of the time MPs spent discussing vocational education (48%) was initiated by frontbenchers, compared to two thirds (66%) for academic education.