This Technicians and Progression report from the Skills Commission presents the findings of an inquiry into the alternatives to university degrees that the post-16 education system provides. The report maintains that post-compulsory education should offer a diverse range of education provision, vocational as well as academic, enabling individuals to acquire the right sorts of skills for the workplace and acting as key routes into professions. Although the focus of the inquiry is on vocational study in post-compulsory education, the issues and problems encountered are similar to those in 14-19 education. The inquiry draws on the Review of 14-19 Vocational Education by Dr Alison Wolf and builds on the foundations that it provides. Also important is the question of progression - defined as up-skilling, reskilling, training for a new job, and changing jobs entirely - and the importance of lifelong learning. The report addresses the status of technicians, the 'unsung heroes' of schools, colleges and industry. The report considers that they have been undervalued, undernourished, and relegated to an occupational division considered less important than their professional counterparts and that a plan for growth needs a plan for technicians. The report includes ten recommendations which set out steps to improve the recognition of vocational and technical education within schools, further and higher education, professional bodies, sector skills councils and awarding bodies. It also encourages further support of technicians by all education providers, professional bodies and employers.

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