This paper draws on the finding of an investigation study that claims the vocational elements of the Engineering Diploma Higher level offer decidedly effective preparation for employment, indicated by small scale studies of engineering students tracked during their two year course.
The importance of hands-on learning is, indeed, reflected in the ’14 – 19 Education and Skills’ White Paper. What is reported here seeks to demonstrate the way in which the image of Vocational Education which has always suffered from low status because of the academic/vocational divide generating issues of parity of approval.
The study maintains that more effective evaluation of students’ readiness for the world of work, both at school and the work place, could lead to better pedagogy, students skills and the capacity for independent learning. Principally twenty-five year 10 GCSE students were tracked during their first year and on their ten day work placement. Using the analysis of the data collected from the interviews, the paper will discuss the key factors which students and employers perceive to affect the suitability and relevance of a course to give learners activities to develop skills that are more suited to an occupation.