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At the very heart of the post -compulsory debate lies competing views of the purposes of post - compulsory, and even compulsory, education. Since the days of the Mechanics' Institutes, through Technical and FE Colleges, the greatest emphasis has always been upon the preparation of young people and others for work…
It was the emphasis upon further education providing a preparation for jobs which underpinned the new vocationalism of the 1980s. However, in more recent years, the provision of a 'vocational education' has come to be recognised as a more complex matter than that of simply training students in job-specific skills. While it is true to say that General, Liberal and Social Studies appendages to post -war vocational courses were an attempt to provide students with a wider educational base to their studies, it was the BTEC curriculum introduced from the early 1980s which took the first significant steps towards a preparation for work within a broader concept of vocational education. The development of TVEI as an enhancement curriculum, of generic and core skills, and of modular course structures such as GNVQ can be seen as further evidence of some general shift towards a broader, re-focused vocationalism.
The reasons behind these shifts are themselves interesting and result from analyses of the changing needs of the economy, the labour market and, in particular, the nature of work. ...
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