Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Apprenticeship and automotive skills: the UK, Germany and Spain compared


CVER's Hilary Steedman and colleagues have been looking at training in one area of the automotive sector
 

Car Service is central to the supply chain of the wider automotive sector, identified as a leading performer in the UK government’s 2017 Industrial Strategy. We asked Car Service employers in Germany, UK and Spain about skill shortages and their experience of training apprentices in the workplace.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Do apprenticeships pay?

With the proposed increase in the number of apprenticeships, CVER's Chiara Cavaglia, with Sandra McNally and Guglielmo Ventura, discuss the potential payoffs of starting an apprenticeship



The government aims to massively increase the number of apprenticeships and to make this a more important part of the post-16 educational landscape. In our research – published today by the Sutton Trust - we investigate whether there is an earnings differential to starting an apprenticeship over and above full-time school or college based education.

Friday, 24 November 2017

The Payoff to Vocational Qualifications: Reconciling Estimates from Survey and Administrative Data

Steve McIntosh and colleagues from the University of Sheffield and London Economics look at what different types of data can tell us about the payoff to vocational qualifications



What’s the issue?

Researchers looking to estimate the payoff associated with vocational qualifications have different data sets available to them, with which to perform their statistical analyses. Both survey data and administrative data have been used by researchers in this area. However, they have not always produced similar estimated differentials. Our aim in this project is to investigate why this might be so.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Do secondary school peers influence educational decisions?


Sophie Hedges from London Economics, together with NIESR's Stefan Speckesser, has been looking at how students make choices about their education after GCSEs  


Why did we look at peer effects?

Following the increase in the education participation age, individuals are now required to study towards either a vocational or academic qualification until their 18th birthday once they have completed their GCSEs. However, there is currently relatively little understanding of the factors which determine which route learners choose to follow. Attainment in secondary school is clearly important, given that most A Level courses generally require a high level of GCSE achievement as a prerequisite, but there remain students with strong exam results who choose to pursue a vocational route. Furthermore, it is not necessarily the case that the pupils following a vocational trajectory are veering away from pursuing education at a high level; although it is less common than for A Level students, there are a significant number of individuals who proceed into higher education after achieving vocational qualifications.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Investment in adult skills in decreasing in the UK – here’s why we should be worried


NIESR's Matt Bursnall and Stefan Speckesser ask are we right to be concerned about access to skills in the UK?


Recently, the FT showed that contrary to popular belief the most troubling issue for SMEs in Europe is not access to finance but access to skills – with the level of concern and the gap between the issues getting larger.

Monday, 9 October 2017

What are the labour market outcomes associated with vocational education and training?

Pietro Patrignani is a Senior Economic Consultant at London Economics working on CVER projects. In this blog he looks at the outcomes for those on vocational paths using newly matched data.


What’s new?

For the first time, the matched Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) data has been made available for analysis of qualification attainment and labour market outcomes in England. This dataset combines information from different school (National Pupil Database), Further Education (Individualised Learner Record) and Higher Education (HESA) data sources in England with labour market outcomes information from HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions. The key advantage of this matched dataset is that it contains detailed information from administrative data sources on both labour market outcomes and also early scholastic attainment (including Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 test score information), but is not restricted to a small sample of individuals (as in the 1970 British Cohort Study).

Monday, 25 September 2017

Three million new apprenticeships – but how many of these are completed and achieved?

Matt Bursnall and Stefan Speckesser from CVER and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research ask what do we currently know about apprenticeship achievement?


The government’s target to create three million apprenticeships by 2020 is a key element of their programme for improving technical education for young people in England and helping to reduce skills gaps. However, the number of apprenticeship starts is only one way to judge progress. Of equal importance is how many apprenticeships are actually achieved. Published statistics do not answer this question well because achievement rates are calculated for apprenticeships that ended in an academic year using a relatively opaque measure.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The benefits of intermediate level skills

Using findings from a study of all countries of the European Union, CVER's Vahé Nafilyan and Dr Stefan Speckesser look at new evidence on the economic and social cost of low skills


A new major study by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) seeks to provide evidence for policy-makers on the economic and social cost of low skills in the EU. The authors [1] of this blog were part of the team which estimated the costs (and/or foregone benefits) of low skills to individuals, businesses, the economy and society at large.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Brexit and the skills challenge

Sandra McNally, CVER's Director, on skills in the UK in light of Brexit


The UK’s productivity suffered a shock in 2008 from which it has not recovered, and the ‘skills problem’ needs to be addressed. Within the context of a broader industrial strategy, improving skills is part of the solution – but Brexit may well harm these efforts if the feared negative economic effects put additional pressure on public finances.

Likewise, Brexit will not help if prolonged uncertainty discourages employer investment in skills; nor if employers substitute capital for labour as a response to migration barriers. However, Brexit does do is bring the skills problem into sharper focus.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Britain's skills problem

CVER Director, Professor Sandra McNally,  on the shortage of technical level skills


It is well known and acknowledged in the government’s Industrial Strategy that Britain has a skills problem: ‘We have a shortage of technical-level skills and rank 16th out of 20 countries for the proportion of people with technical qualifications’. As the Green Paper also says, ‘a bewildering complex array of qualifications, some of which are poor quality, makes the system hard to use for students and employers’.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Is there a benefit to post-16 remedial policies?

Clémentine Van Effenterre, a researcher at the Paris School of Economics and CVER, reviews the impact of remedial interventions for post-16 students


Remedial interventions in tertiary education are under scrutiny in most OECD countries. They are particularly important in a context of increasing demand for skilled workers. However, they are often costly, and their efficiency in boosting student performance has been questioned. This debate has gained particular relevance in England given recent policy changes that require students who do not get at least a grade C in English or maths in GCSE to repeat exams in these subjects. The low pass rate amongst those who re-sit has raised questions about the sustainability of the policy. What can be done to improve mathematics and English attainment to help students achieving these new requirements? What types of remedial interventions are efficient to address the need of students older than 16? In this context, we have reviewed economic literature on the impact of remedial interventions in tertiary education.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The decision to undertake an apprenticeship

CVER's Steven McIntosh, from the University of Sheffield, discusses what influences the decision to do an apprenticeship



What is likely to influence the decision-making of young people who are thinking about undertaking an apprenticeship? In this blog I discuss some research we have undertaken in CVER, answering just this question. The data source is the responses to a questionnaire that we developed ourselves, given to a cohort of apprentices at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield. These apprentices were surveyed in January-March 2016, having all begun their apprenticeship in September 2015. In total, 61 apprentices responded to our questionnaire (a response rate of around 50%).

Friday, 24 March 2017

The benefits of vocational education for low-achieving school leavers

Vahé Nafilyan, from the Institute for Employment Studies, writes on CVER's latest research paper which looks at a previously neglected group: school leavers starting low level vocational courses


Every year, about 65,000 school leavers start low level vocational courses. As underlined in a report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility these young people have received much less attention than those who go on to A-Levels and university and, at the other end of the spectrum, the small minority dropping out of education, employment or training. Although this is a sizeable group (10% of a cohort), their participation in vocational education and labour market outcomes have so far been barely documented.

Friday, 13 January 2017

How important is providing careers-related information for students?

CVER Director Sandra McNally looks at career advice on offer to students, and what works


The type and quality of education matters for labour market prospects, as reflected in future employment and earnings. There is often dissatisfaction expressed with the careers information and advice provided to students at school and beyond. It’s a matter of common sense (rather than academic study) to say that students do need to have good quality careers information and advice. What isn’t clear is whether cheap information interventions are really going to make the difference for young people as they approach the time where they need to make important decisions. In recent years, there have been a number of economic studies that have used rigorous approaches to test whether simple information interventions actually work. I have reviewed this for a recent IZA World of Labor paper, which focuses on results from 10 evaluations implemented via Randomised Control Trials