Today's Ofsted report into the implementation of 14-19 Diplomas highlights some issues which need to be addressed if they are to bring maximum benefit to North East businesses.
The introduction of the diplomas - which provide a vocational alternative to the traditional curriculum - is to be welcomed as a useful bridge between school education and work, including apprenticeships.
But youngsters need to be given the right information and advice if they are to take the best route for them - and this must be relevant to up to date economic information about their area. This is one way in which councils' new responsibility for carrying out local economic assessments could be very useful if used properly.
They must also deliver on key skills such as English, maths and ICT if they are to help students become ready for work. The issues Ofsted encountered with regard to this must therefore be addressed quickly.
Nevertheless, diplomas remain a relatively new development and must be given time to bed in. If these issues are overcome, employers and universities can and should recognise their value.