It was great to chair the Parliamentary launch of Universities UK's report on The Future of Degree Apprenticeships, which is a constructive way of looking at how we support students to earn and learn at the same time. We need to do more to raise awareness of the huge benefits of degree apprenticeship qualifications and make then more accessible.
The Future of Degree Apprenticeships report shows that progress in developing degree apprenticeships in England has been stalled by poor levels of awareness among school pupils, parents and employers. However, once potential apprentices and their parents discover the value of degree apprenticeships, they rapidly become enthusiastic.
89% of the employers surveyed in the report believe that degree apprenticeships attract high calibre learners and that the degree element equips apprentices with the knowledge and skills necessary in a fast-paced economy. All employers surveyed in the report favour offering degree apprenticeships to those from disadvantaged backgrounds or as a way to upskill their workforce.
There are currently more than 7,000 degree apprentices in England, with over 100 universities either ready to deliver or delivering degree apprenticeships. Degree apprenticeships combine vocational training with academic study, with degree apprentices receiving a salary for doing four days’ work with their employer and spending one day a week in university to gain a degree.
Only a very small proportion of young people in Mansfield go on to Higher Education, and it’s not because they aren’t capable. It’s because university can often seem a distant, expensive and inaccessible destination. Degree Apprenticeships allow people to earn whilst they learn, which is a huge opportunity to level the playing field and help more young people in Mansfield access a degree qualification without the debt and without the high cost of living at uni.