Miliband sets out plan for the 'forgotten 50%'
RADICAL reforms will be unveiled by Labour leader Ed Miliband today aimed at laying out a career path to youngsters who do not go to university.
Mr Miliband will argue the education system currently only works for half the country – and will declare his ambition to reach out to what he calls the "forgotten 50 per cent".
The planned changes would see an overhaul of vocational education and apprenticeships.
Under a Labour Government, Mr Miliband says there would be a clear vocational route set out for youngsters at the age of 14, leading to a "gold standard" qualification at 18 called a Technical Baccalaureate – the equivalent of A level.
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A condition of this would be continuing to study English and Maths to the age of 18, and also carrying out work experience.
At the same time, businesses would get £1billion of skills funding to create tailored apprenticeships for the "Tech Bacc" graduates to go into.
Vocational education is an important part of the education systems in successful economies such as Germany.
Mr Miliband will argue the far-reaching changes are vital to turning around the nation's economic fortunes and "rebuilding Britain", which has been a theme running throughout his party's conference in Manchester.
Powers could also be introduced to make it more difficult for rival firms to poach trainees, which has been a disincentive to companies investing in apprenticeships. Large firms with Government contracts would have to provide apprenticeships.
In his keynote speech to conference, Mr Miliband will say for too long Labour had focussed on getting young people into university.
"We cannot succeed if we can have an education system which only works for half the country," he was due to tell delegates today. "In the 21st century everyone should be doing some form of education up to 18, not 16.
"I want a curriculum that is rigorous and relevant."
Mr Miliband will also accuse Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove of having "contempt" for vocational qualifications.