Students and principal on universal technical colleges
20 December 2012 Last updated at 11:17 GMT
Employers in manufacturing and engineering firms often say young people do not leave school with the skills needed for the world of work.
University Technical Colleges which aim to seek to address those issues, combining practical learning alongside core GCSE and A levels, were the idea of former Education Secretary Ken Baker - now Lord Baker. The government has pledged to open at least 24 by 2014.
Susana Mendonca spoke to students Edward Watts and Ayesha Ilyas, Aston University Engineering Academy principal Lee Kilgour, apprentice Raees Khan and RS Fleet Installations managing director Lea Hodson.