Money alone not solution to tackling university bias

Boris Johnson’s yesterday (7 Jul) announced that if he becomes Prime Minister he will aim to boost non-university options and reinvigorate plans for a £100 million “retraining fund” to give those already in the labour market useful skills.

“We need to make sure that we… properly fund all manner of technical and vocational education – from further education colleges to apprenticeships – and if I am lucky enough to be elected, we will,” Boris said, “Their [apprentices] expertise will be indispensable to the future of this country – and guess what: none of them have been to university.”

This comes as Damian Hinds announces today (8 Jul) that Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications will be renamed Higher Technical Qualifications, as part of a 10-year ambition to upgrade the nation’s skills and to encourage more lifelong learning and CPD.

Lawrence Barton 100x100Lawrence Barton, Managing Director of apprenticeship provider, GB Training, said:

“While Boris’s pledge to boost apprenticeships and other forms of vocational qualification as an alternative to university is welcome, money alone is not the solution. The Government must do more to help tackle the prejudice in favour of universities that is so pervasive among young people, their parents and teachers.

"Thousands of young people in this country are pursuing a university education, racking up thousands of pounds of debt in the process, often under the misguided belief that a degree will lead to higher earnings and greater employment potential. The Government’s own data shows that in many cases this is a false belief and that in many cases apprenticeships offer more fruitful outcomes.

"The Government should mandate all higher education institutions in England and Wales to publish clearly on their website the proportion of their graduates who were unemployed 12 months after graduation and who successfully secured full-time ‘graduate level’ positions. Improved transparency on outcomes is a vital component in the struggle to change misperceptions surrounding further and higher education in the country.”

Tom Bewick FAB 100x100Tom Bewick, Chief Executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) comments:

“It’s great to see one of the leading contenders to be our next Prime Minister so emphatically endorsing degree apprenticeships and pointing out that our FE colleges need more investment. However, unlike his school funding pledges, Boris Johnson is being far less specific about how he will redress the funding injustices that our further education colleges and adult training courses have suffered in recent years.

"We know that 16-19 year olds in FE have seen funding cut in real terms by 18 per cent; and adults and community learning by 45 per cent. What we need from the next Prime Minister is a cast iron commitment that these funding cuts will be reversed and that some of the radical ideas of the Augar Review, of introducing a lifelong learning loan allowance for all adults without a degree, will be introduced in the next Budget.” 

“It’s great to see one of the leading contenders to be our next Prime Minister so emphatically endorsing degree apprenticeships and pointing out that our FE colleges need more investment. However, unlike his school funding pledges, Boris Johnson is being far less specific about how he will redress the funding injustices that our further education colleges and adult training courses have suffered in recent years. We know that 16-19 year olds in FE have seen funding cut in real terms by 18 per cent; and adults and community learning by 45 per cent. What we need from the next Prime Minister is a cast iron commitment that these funding cuts will be reversed and that some of the radical ideas of the Augar Review, of introducing a lifelong learning loan allowance for all adults without a degree, will be introduced in the next Budget.” 

MarkDawe 100x100Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Mark Dawe said:

‘We’re delighted that a levy payer with a long history of commitment to apprenticeships was able to show Boris Johnson the power of apprenticeships to transform young people’s lives and we welcome the likely future Prime Minister’s promise to invest more in the programme. 

"The investment needs to be at all levels of apprenticeships to realise the vision that Mr Johnson has set out and funding needs to be made available to the thousands of non-levy paying SMEs across the country who are now being starved of the money required to offer new places on the programme.  AELP wants to see the additional investment make a big difference for young people and the vital lower level apprenticeships which have been disproportionately hit by the dramatic fall in the number of apprenticeship starts.’

"Boris Johnson is passionate about Apprenticeships and skills development" said Nick Boles at the 2016 AELP Conference:

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