The Shadow Education Minister will today lead a debate calling on the Welsh Labour Government to ensure parity between vocational and academic qualifications.
Angela Burns will call on Labour Ministers to develop a new robust vocational curriculum to run alongside academic qualifications, to give young people greater choice in their career path and allow them to identify where their talents lie.
Assembly Members will debate a Welsh Conservative motion recognising the equal value of vocational and academic education in the Senedd this afternoon.
Angela Burns AM said, "Every child deserves the chance to pursue their particular talents, but too often society’s prejudices can force some pupils into mediocrity in academic education, when they could excel in vocational qualifications.
"By failing to give every child the right to choose their own career path, we are contributing to a loss of ambition and self-esteem in young people, which can even lead to worklessness in later life.
"Academic and vocational courses should be equally rigorous, equally challenging and equally valued.
"Currently in our society, there is a perception that to get on in life you need to go to university or that you need academic qualifications, which is not the case.
"Many of the great achievements taking place in Wales today are from engineers, designers, IT technicians, artists, chefs and athletes.
"We need to end this prejudice against vocational education, which is holding our economy back and denying young people the full range of life chances.
"The Welsh Government needs to consult with industry, schools and colleges to develop a new robust vocational curriculum, which can run alongside academic qualifications.
"With a new rigorous curriculum, that will allow students to choose between academic and vocational streams and move between them during their education, we can encourage every child to realise their ability."