An education charity boss has said that there should be far more Degree Apprenticeships than are currently on offer, highlighting how many people go to university each year compared to the apprenticeship route.
Writing in the Financial Times, Sir Peter Lampl – founder and chairman, Sutton Trust – said that recent plans to reform UK student finance will do very little for disadvantaged young people.
“The reduction in tuition fees just tinkers around the edges of what is a grossly unfair system. Half of young people go to university, which is a very expensive proposition. Many of them come out with skills that the marketplace doesn’t need.
“Five years out, a third of graduates are not in graduate jobs. This is a tragedy for the graduates themselves, and also for the taxpayer who has to fund their costs. Rather a significant portion should be doing degree-level apprenticeships where young people are employed by an organisation working with one or more universities.”
By comparison, people on Degree Apprenticeships earn while they learn, and come out of their programmes with very little or no debt as well as the skills employers really want.
“This year just 10,000 people will start a degree-level apprenticeship, compared with more than 300,000 taking up university degrees.”
“This year just 10,000 people will start a degree-level apprenticeship, compared with more than 300,000 taking up university degrees,” he said. “This needs to change. Far more of these apprenticeships need to be available. Not just in technology, but in all disciplines such as the media, investment banking and marketing and public relations.
“They are a more efficient way of upskilling the labour force and they give young people a genuine alternative to a university degree. In addition, our research found that a degree-level apprentice earns more than the average non-Russell Group graduate.”
Lampl pointed to Germany and Switzerland, where he said a majority of young people do high-level apprenticeships and reach the very top of their field. “We would like to see much more emphasis on degree-level apprenticeships,” he said.