This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
“BTECs that are equivalent to GCSEs and A levels lead to higher earnings because employers respect them. But students cannot currently study BTECs at a higher level.
“So I am delighted that, after discussions with Pearson, this will now change. There will be a new rung on the ladder of opportunity. Further education colleges, universities and other training providers will be able to offer this tried-and-tested qualification at a higher level for the first time. Students, employers and the economy all stand to benefit.
“In the forthcoming higher education White Paper, we want to make it easier to award new high-quality and affordable degrees like BTECs. This is the key to extending opportunity, improving social mobility and raising skills.”
Mr Willetts was speaking at the Technical Education for the 21st Century conference in central London, hosted by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation.
Pearson already offers BTEC Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) in vocational subjects, which are typically studied in FE colleges for one and two years respectively. HNDs are the equivalent of a foundation degree. The first phase of Pearson’s vocational degree programmes will be developed in four subjects - business, engineering, information technology and health and social care - and will be piloted from September 2011. Further qualifications are planned in Law, Nursing, Education and Hospitality and Tourism. Pearson will be working with a higher education institution with degree-awarding powers to develop its degree-level BTEC.
A White Paper on higher education reform will be published next year.