Using Information from item B and elsewhere, assess the view that vocational education and training schemes have done nothing to reduce social inequalities. There are various schemes available within the new vocational education system, such as NVQ’s, apprenticeships, YTS’s and GNVQs. These are work-based awards that are achieved through training and assessment. These awards are usually equivalent to 2 A levels. Usually, schemes like apprenticeships put you straight into a job when you finish the course; this is a top-rated vocational course as jobs are hard to come by in this economic climate.
The training scheme was also introduced around the same time as students experiencing difficulty with their traditional subjects. The aim was to help 14-16-year-olds get more out of their education. The students were allowed to attend college for one/two days a week to study for vocational qualifications that were not available at school. Most schools used this to re-engage disaffected young people. Although many schemes may have helped working-class students, it has also helped the middle class, so it does not appear to have helped reduce social inequality but instead gives students more choice over their education. Although vocational education and training schemes help some students and provide people with more qualifications, they have not reduced social inequality. They have helped middle-class students and working-class ones but give few skills that can only be used in low-paid/ unskilled work.
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However, these ideas also opened up so much more opportunities for students who were not so interested in traditional subjects such as maths, English, science. These apprenticeships and NVQs provided routes into a job and out of their disliked educational subjects. Furthermore, these would open up opportunities such as future careers, a full-time job and qualifications. The government in recent years has decided to improve the repetition of these alternative qualifications and offer them alongside other more traditional options such as A levels. Vocational education also provides cheap labour for employees, such as apprenticeships. This is consequently why the government has been encouraging employees to take new apprentices. It also reduces politically embarrassing unemployment statistics and may reduce crime by giving the youth something to do with their lives and not on the streets.
Some people may think that vocational education has done nothing to reduce social inequality as it offers very few skills that are not very useful and are poorly taught. They may also argue that certain students’ gender or race may not give them adequate learning resources to understand the concepts they are taught fully. They would also say that students are being taught ‘nobody’ jobs to fill the unwanted roles of society and therefore discriminating against minorities. Furthermore, trainees have found they are taught narrow skills which are of no real value to them; also, once trained; they do not receive any other sort of updated training, meaning they are very restricted to what they do. Finally, the evidence shows that sorts of vocational courses do open up lots of opportunities for students. However, they seem to be rather narrow and restricted with this course, then confiding you to the same job for the rest of your life. However, it could be argued that this is still good as it is getting the youth off the street and into jobs in some ways.