CITB-ConstructionSkills has welcomed the government’s response to the Tomlinson report into secondary education, but insisted that the industry must be involved in drafting vocational training plans.

The reaction comes a week after the government outlined its response to the Tomlinson report, published last year. Construction will be offered as one of 14 specialist qualifications, which will combine vocational study, work experience and academic courses such as mathematics. The proposals could still include A levels.

The CITB said it was pleased by the rejection of the “snobbery” that put academic qualifications ahead of vocational ones, but stressed the need for partnering to thrash out the details of the proposals.

It called for four key commitments from the government before the white paper was implemented:

  • The industry should play a central role in building the curriculum for vocational qualifications and should act as partners in delivering them through sector skills councils and direct partnership.
  • Apprenticeships should be a significant route to achieving core skills and qualifications. The recruitment of apprentices should be driven by employers and supported by schools, careers advisers, government and colleges.
  • A construction skills diploma should be created before 2008.
  • The government should match the industry’s contribution of £1.25bn to fund training.

Peter Lobban, chief executive of the CITB, said vocational skills could not be taught unless the industry was involved at every level.

He said: “We have enough problems with classroom-based vocational courses not preparing students with the qualifications and practice they need. You can teach skills but you need practice as well.”

Lobban added that the CITB would work with the government to ensure that the industry was at the core of the drive to achieve “parity of esteem” between vocational and academic education.