Cable to call on Ucas to include higher apprenticeships

Business secretary Vince Cable has asked Ucas to look at whether high-level apprenticeships can be integrated into its admissions services.

April 23, 2014

Mr Cable, who is delivering the Cambridge Public Policy Lecture later today, will say that this will help higher apprenticeships be seen as a viable alternative to university study.

According to extracts of the speech given out in advance, he will talk about how further and higher education can be brought more closely together to achieve greater “parity of esteem” between the sectors.

“This is an essential step to making higher apprenticeships the norm rather than a niche in the overall skills programme,” he will add. 

He will also call for a greater take up of higher apprenticeships, which can incorporate a degree-level education alongside work. “Higher apprenticeships are an important solution to the sub-degree gap, and there are already some superb schemes, for which entry is as competitive as getting into [the University of Cambridge],” he is set to say.

He will use the example of higher apprenticeships at engineering firm Rolls-Royce, which take four years and involve a sponsored degree from the University of Warwick.

“If we are to have credible, high-level vocational programmes – which are a legitimate and equally prestigious alternative to the traditional undergraduate route – older school leavers should be able to consider them alongside university option,” Mr Cable will say.

He will add that these programmes have “huge advantages” for employers who get staff educated with theoretical and practical knowledge tailored specifically to their needs, as well as individuals who earn while they learn and could potentially graduate with no student loan debt.

Helen Thorne, director of policy and research at Ucas, said the organisation’s website “encourages students to think about a wide range of future options, including alternatives to higher education such as apprenticeships”.

She added that Ucas conventions held across the UK also had dedicated areas for students to discuss work-based learning, while its Ucas Progress course search service for younger teenagers allowed them to find out about apprenticeships. 

“We look forward to working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to ensure that students have access to the best possible information as they make decisions about their future education and career pathways,” she said.

holly.else@tsleducation.com

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Reader's comments (1)

TechBacc and Tech Levels are soon to be reported alongside A levels in school league tables. Similarly inclusion of university 'trailblazer' Higher Apprenticeships (levels 4 to 7 graded up to Distinction level) participation performance data in the university league tables, perhaps would help incentivise FE/HEI to get involved, especially were the Research Council's level 8 Doctoral Centres also integrated in to the apprenticeship scheme.

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