Policy paper

Rigour and responsiveness in skills

Explains the plan to update our skills system to make it more rigorous and responsive to the needs of employers and learners.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Rigour and responsiveness in skills


To compete successfully, we need a highly skilled workforce. Our best vocational training is world class but there remain skills shortages. Our skills system is confusing and often changes, with little employer engagement and an acceptance of poor provision.

We have already improved the system through our 2010 national skills strategy ‘Investing in skills for sustainable growth’. The next step is to make it more rigorous and responsive to need. Vocational qualifications must be rigorous so they qualify a worker to practise in their chosen role. We will achieve this through a responsive system that ensures the flexibility for education and training providers to deliver what learners and employers really want.

This publication explains how we plan now to:

  • raise standards by making the system more professional and intervening in poor provision
  • create traineeships to prepare young people for work
  • reform and improve the quality of Apprenticeships
  • make qualifications relevant and valued
  • use funding to make provision more responsive
  • give employers and individuals the information to make the right choices
Published 3 April 2013