What does this mean?
We were really pleased to see the news that the proposed T Levels (new 2-year courses, designed with employers, to give young people the skills that industry needs) will increase opportunities for young people to study craft beyond the age of 16.
We know ourselves through our Studying Craft research that there is rapidly declining number of students studying craft related qualifications. The valuable role that craft and creative education can play needs to be recognised by government in order to reverse this worrying trend.
However as stated by Sara Whybrew of Creative and Cultural Skills and Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre, in this Arts Professional article we have concerns regarding the number of hours needed at a work placement.
In the craft sector the majority of businesses are sole-traders, many of which would struggle to offer such time-intensive placements. We also have reservations about specialising so early in your education journey. The opportunity to explore a range of disciplines is key to discovering an area of real interest but also enables a richer response to the student’s ultimate focus.
Crafts Council’s research evidence demonstrates that craft is a thriving sector that contributes £3.4bn to the UK economy. It is important to note that this analysis is based on those using craft skills not only in craft businesses, but also in creative businesses and in the wider creative economy. The role of craft in innovation is key to driving this.
Studying Craft also shows that vocational routes into craft, such as apprenticeships, are increasing, but represent a tiny proportion of those studying craft. We need to ensure that T levels are fit for purpose and can make a significant contribution to increasing vocational routes.