News

  • Employers want young people to be better prepared for life outside school, says survey

    Businesses want the education system to improve at giving young people the skills they need for work, says the 2014 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey.

    In the survey of 291 companies employing nearly 1.5 million people, over half (61%) are concerned about the resilience and self-management of school leavers and a third (33%) with their attitude to work. By contrast, nearly all firms (96%) are satisfied with young peoples’ IT abilities when they enter the workplace.

    Firms want primary schools to focus on developing literacy and numeracy (85%) with around one-third not satisfied with these skills among school leavers. Half (52%) are urging schools to develop a greater awareness of working life among 14-19 year olds with support from businesses. Companies are prepared to play their part with two-thirds (66%) willing to take on a larger role in the school careers system.

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  • BBC and Pearson College launch new apprenticeship scheme for the business managers of the future

    The BBC and Pearson College have joined forces to launch a Higher Apprenticeship and degree programme for business management in the creative industries.

    • This is a unique opportunity for talented young apprentices to earn while they learn and get a high-quality university degree.
    • Participants gain both a Pearson College Business Management Degree and a Leadership and Management Higher Apprenticeship.
    • Work placements at the BBC will provide enviable experience of working at the heart of the media industry.
    • First degree-level Business scheme to be offered by the BBC.
    • Two-year scheme opens up entry to the brightest from all backgrounds.
    • Applications are open from 14 April until 4 May 2014.

    The two-year scheme targets those without a degree and opens up entry into the creative industries to the broadest range of backgrounds.

    Alongside teaching at Pearson College to understand key aspects of business – from management and leadership to business law – successful candidates will have the opportunity to develop hands-on experience through three placements within the BBC. These will take place within three of five areas: Television, Marketing and Audiences, Future Media, Policy and Strategy, or Worldwide.

    The scheme provides a Leadership and Management Higher Apprenticeship incorporating a Pearson College BA (Hons) Business Management* degree with all fees paid, validated by Ashridge Business School, one of the world's leading business schools.

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  • Business and Higher Education appeal for long-term view of education to support economic growth

    A new report published today urges the government to radically overhaul the way the current school curriculum is developed to ensure it better meets the needs of the future economy.

    The report, 'Making Education Work,' follows a six-month review of England’s education system by an independent advisory group consisting of prominent business leaders and chaired by leading academic Professor Sir Roy Anderson.

    The report's key recommendations are:

    • A cross-party body should ensure the school curriculum is aligned to the future economy.
    • A levels should be slowly replaced with a Baccalaureate system.
    • The importance of interpersonal skills should be recognised and evidenced.

    With the content of the school curriculum continuing to change with each new administration, the report recommends the establishment of a new independent body, made up of teachers, employers, higher education and importantly, political parties. The new group would aim to establish a long-term political consensus on the school curriculum, with ultimate responsibility for delivering and assessing that curriculum continuing to be vested in the government.

    The Making Education Work report also recommends:

    • The A level system should slowly change to a baccalaureate-type system which supports a broader curriculum, to keep career options open and enable flexibility in later life.
    • England should formally adopt a formal framework for key competences, to include important attributes like team working, which are predicted to become increasingly important in the job market.
    • The testing of higher level reasoning skills, rather than just knowledge of theory or facts, should carry greater weight in qualifications, as more roles in the future will require these skills.
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  • Graduates more likely to be employed if they studied a vocational course at sixth form or college

    A new study shows an established vocational route into degree study, and that vocational skills are a ‘recipe for resilience’ in a changing labour market.

    New research published today indicates that university graduates who only studied vocational qualifications at sixth form or college were more likely to be in employment than their peers who had studied purely academic qualifications such as A levels.

    Analysis of Labour Force statistics in a new study by London Economics, commissioned by Pearson, showed that, across age groups and gender, graduates with BTECs had an average full-time employment rate of 80%, compared with 74% for A level-only graduates.

    On the day a government consultation closes on the future of vocational qualifications being taught in schools and colleges, these figures underline the role that qualifications that develop vocational skills could play in reducing the UK’s historically high unemployment rates now and in the future.

    Although many more A level students progress to university than those studying vocational qualifications, thousands are now starting degrees having completed BTECs and other qualifications, often after a period of time in the workplace. Almost 40% of BTEC learners are aged 27 or above when they achieve their degree, compared with only about 10% of A level learners.

    The figures indicate that A level learners take a much more ‘linear’ path compared with ‘non-linear’ BTEC learners, who have a mix of education and employment experience. However, over half of BTEC graduates progress straight to university on completing college or after a short break.

    Figures showed that graduates who had studied BTECs at school and college were on a par with their A level-only peers in terms of the jobs they subsequently secured. On some measures they did better: more BTEC-only graduates were found to be working as Managers, Senior Officials, or in Associate Professional roles compared with A level-only graduates (48.9% versus 45.1%).

    The other main findings of the report included:

    • 56.1% of BTEC students with a degree studied Engineering, Maths and Computing and Business and Finance compared with only 26.8% of A level students.
    • On average, BTEC students graduating from university are as likely to achieve a first-class degree as their A level peers (BTEC graduates at 12.2% compared with 11.4% for A level). 
    • Male graduates with a BTEC in the Tyne and Wear and northern regions, West Yorkshire, East Anglia, parts of the West Midlands and Northern Ireland earn more than those who only did A levels at college and sixth form, though this effect is reversed in London and the south east.
    • Across all regions, BTEC graduates in skilled trade occupations earn more.

    Rod Bristow from Pearson said:

    “We already know that there is a strong positive correlation between having a vocational qualification such as a BTEC and being in employment. This new data shows that vocational qualifications, like A levels, also give you the opportunity to excel at university.

    “This research is no reason to rest on our laurels. With unemployment rates at a historic high amongst young people, we need to learn the lessons from these insights.

    “All students, whether they are taking an academic or a vocational route, should have the opportunity to develop the workplace skills and experiences that employers clearly value, and which are enabling success at degree level in disciplines that are critical to growing our economy, like Engineering and Computing.”

    Dr Gavan Conlon of London Economics said:

    “Having looked at the data of tens of thousands of workers across several sectors over a number of years, this analysis is clear that those learners who attained their degree through the BTEC route are more likely to be employed.

    “With a rapidly changing economy, people need to continually update and adapt their skills, and we’re seeing people take up degrees later in life, as well as school leavers. The blend of skills and motivation developed through vocational qualifications and time in work may prove to be the recipe for long-term resilience in the employment market.”

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  • Pearson launches higher education college

    At Pearson, we’re launching a higher education college - becoming the first FTSE 100 company to directly deliver degrees in the UK.

    The college is seeking to recruit the brightest and most entrepreneurial students and equip them with the knowledge and skills employers seek.

    The college has worked with a range of businesses to design a unique style of business degree. The Pearson Business and Enterprise degree course will focus on preparing students for the world of business and has been developed in conjunction with BT, Cisco, the Peter Jones Foundation and Atos. Students will graduate with a BSc (Hons) degree validated by Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, part of the University of London. Students will study in a corporate environment at Pearson’s offices in London or Manchester and also take part in a residential at Royal Holloway’s campus. The degree includes a guaranteed internship programme and a company-based mentor for every student.

    Pearson College is currently recruiting a small cohort of pioneers to start in September, ready for the main launch in September 2013. Applicants will undergo an Oxbridge style assessment day which includes an interview and aptitude test. While standard entry requirements are ABB at A-Level (or equivalent), the college is using the assessment day to consider students with potential, looking at their ability and motivation, and not just their previous academic success.

    Tuition fees are set at £6,500 per year for the three year programme. Pearson is offering ‘Performance Scholarships’ to cover the course fees for the very brightest.

    The Pearson Business degree is flexible and students have the choice of three routes, enabling them to choose the one that best fits their lifestyle. The traditional three year mode follows the same yearly pattern as traditional universities; alternatively students can choose to accelerate over the summer and complete in only two years; and finally students can combine work and study and complete in only four years.

    Commenting, Roxanne Stockwell, Managing Director, Pearson College, said:

    “Given its academic publishing heritage and over 150 years of commercial experience, Pearson is uniquely placed to develop and deliver degrees that combine a solid academic foundation with meeting business and employer needs.

    “Our degrees are designed by business, delivered with business, for students who are serious about succeeding in business.

    “We have a network of blue chip industry relationships, many of whom are working with us on the design and delivery of our degree programmes. This gives us an inherent understanding of the modern business environment and employer needs. Our degrees will therefore embed professional work experience, business skills and etiquette, with significant and relevant input from our industry partners.”

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Press centre contact details for journalists

For enquiries regarding GCSEs, A levels and Key Stage 2 tests please contact:

Hannah Hawkins
Media and Communities Manager, UK

T: +44 (0) 20 7010 2336
E: hannah.hawkins@pearson.com or media@pearson.com

For enquiries regarding vocational qualifications and Pearson College please contact:

Tom Philpott
Government Relations Manager, UK and Europe

T: +44 (0) 20 7010 2313
M: +44 (0) 7715 890442
E: tom.philpott@pearson.com

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