Labour launches ‘technical degrees’ policy – Times Higher Education

In a speech this morning, Labour leader Ed Miliband was set to say technical degrees would be the party’s priority as it expands university places from 2015, adding that vocational qualifications should have “equal status” to traditional university courses.

The new degrees, whose courses will be designed and delivered in partnership with employers, will ensure higher education is not reserved for young people who have chosen a “conventional academic route”, Mr Miliband was to say.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Sutton Trust, an educational charity, Mr Miliband was to explain that he is proud of Labour’s record of higher education expansion, but that vocational education had been neglected.

Read the full article by Jack Grove here.


Ed Miliband unveils plan for technical degrees if Labour wins 2015 election – Guardian

 The first generation to be born in the 21st century will be worse off than their parents unless changes are made to open up the education system, Ed Miliband will say on Tuesday as he outlines plan for new technical degrees.

The Labour leader will warn that the country risks “going into decline” unless it creates greater opportunities for the so called “forgotten 50%” of young people who choose not to follow a traditional academic route.

Miliband will say that a Labour government would introduce new technical degrees to meet the demand for hundreds of thousands of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) technicians needed for infrastructure projects such as the new high speed rail line and the Thames Tideway……

…..At the moment there are 100,000 people on Level 3 apprenticeships. The Sutton Trust, whose Higher Ambitions summit will be opened by Miliband, says that this needs to be increased to 200,000 or 300,000.

Miliband will say in his speech to the summit that the new technical degrees will be the priority for the expansion of university places.

Read the full story by Nicholas Watt here

Labour proposes ‘technical degrees’ – BBC

Labour leader Ed Miliband is to propose “technical degrees” – putting vocational subjects on an equal footing with traditional academic degrees.

In a speech to an education charity, Mr Miliband will say he will work with universities and employers to create such high-status qualifications.

Labour has called for more options for what it calls the “forgotten 50%” who do not go to university…..

…..Ahead of Mr Miliband’s speech to the Sutton Trust, Conservative skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock said youth unemployment had risen under Labour and “far too many of our children didn’t get the training they needed to succeed”.

He said the current government was “leading a skills revolution” with 1.8 million new apprenticeships.

Read the full story by Sean Coughlan here


Schools ‘under pressure’ to push pupils towards university – The Daily Telegraph

A study by the Sutton Trust finds that two-thirds of teachers “rarely or never” give bright teenagers the option of pursuing an apprenticeship in place of taking a university degree

In other European countries such as Germany and Switzerland, young people are far more likely to consider on-the-job training programmes, it was claimed.

The findings were made despite claims from parents that a large increase in the number of school leavers going on to university has “devalued the degree in the jobs market”.

Speaking before a major international conference on apprenticeships in London on Tuesday, Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust, said: “There is a growing appetite for real apprenticeships among young people and the wider public.

“But there are still not nearly enough apprenticeships at A-level or degree standard available. It is vital that this gap is addressed.”

Read the full story by Graeme Paton here

Apprenticeships ‘best route to job’ – Press Association

Many people believe that apprenticeships could offer young people a better chance of getting a job than a degree, a poll suggests.

New research suggests there is growing recognition that following the traditional academic route of going to university is not the only way into the workplace.

More than a third of adults say they believe that a degree-level apprenticeship would be better for a young person’s career prospects, while just over a fifth (21%) backed university study as the best option.

The poll was one of a series of surveys commissioned by the Sutton Trust charity and Pearson ahead of their international summit of apprenticeships and vocational education.

Around two fifths (41%) of those questioned said they think that most apprenticeships should be designed to be equivalent to A-levels.

Read the full story by Alison Kershaw here

UK Youngsters Back Apprenticeships over University Degrees – International Business Times UK

UK youngsters think that degree-level apprenticeships are better for future careers prospects than a traditional university diploma, according to pollster Ipsos MORI.

The study, which was conducted to coincide with the Sutton Trust/Pearson summit on apprenticeships and vocational education, found that only two in ten (21%) of respondents said that a traditional degree would be better than a degree-level apprenticeship – opposed to 34% who supported the latter option.

The survey, which polled more than 1,700 people aged between 16 and 25, also revealed that a further third of people (33%) feel both are equally valuable.

“There is a growing appetite for real apprenticeships among young people and the wider public,” said Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust.

“But there are still not nearly enough apprenticeships at A-level or degree standard available. It is vital that this gap is addressed.”

Read the full story by Ian Silvera here

Labour to offer ‘earn and learn’ technical degrees – The Independent

Young people who do not want or get a university place to study a traditional academic subject could take a new “technical degree” under a Labour government.

Ed Miliband will announce today that young workers would be able to “earn and learn” by studying for a degree for part of the week and working for the rest. The Government would subsidise the courses and employers would design and sponsor them….

….Mr Miliband will make the announcement in a speech to the Sutton Trust, which has found significant public support for “degree-level apprenticeships”. An Ipsos-Mori poll found that 34 per cent said a degree-level apprenticeship would be better for future career prospects than a university degree, while only 21 per cent thought a traditional degree would be better.

Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust, said: “In other European countries, particularly in Germany and Switzerland, three-year, good-quality apprenticeships are a serious option for all young people. Despite some recent improvements, we still have a mountain to climb to match ambitions.”

Read the full story by Andrew Grice here

School leavers lack basic work skills, CBI warns – The Independent (4 July)

School leavers lack the skills needed to succeed at work, a survey of business leaders has warned.

One in three business leaders is concerned at youngsters’ poor attitude to work, while more than half (52 per cent) are dissatisfied with school leavers’ communication skills, the seventh annual CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey found.

Almost four out of 10 (38 per cent) firms expressed concern at school leavers’ basic numeracy, while half said young job seekers’ problem-solving skills were not good enough.

Almost six out of 10 firms warned that the skills gap was getting worse and they feared they would not be able to find enough skilled staff in the future. A quarter (28 per cent) of firms who need technicians qualified in science, technology, engineering or maths already report difficulty recruiting and a third (35 per cent) anticipate problems in the next three years


Read the full story by Sarah Cassidy here


Employers want education system to better prepare young people for life outside school gates – CBI/Pearson survey

Businesses want the education system to better prepare young people with the attitudes and attributes they need to succeed in the world of work. That’s according to this year’s CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey.

In the survey of 291 companies employing nearly 1.5 million people, over half (61%) are concerned about the resilience and self-management of school leavers and a third (33%) with their attitude to work. By contrast, nearly all firms (96%) are satisfied with young peoples’ IT abilities when they enter the workplace.

Firms want primary schools to focus on developing literacy and numeracy (85%) with around one-third not satisfied with these skills among school leavers. Half (52%) are urging schools to develop a greater awareness of working life among 14-19 year olds with support from businesses. Companies are prepared to play their part with two-thirds (66%) willing to take on a larger role in the school careers system.

[Read more…]

Up to 300,000 more three year apprenticeships needed to boost social mobility (Oct 13)

England needs an apprenticeship revolution, with 150-300,000 extra three-year apprenticeship starts each year for young people, according to a major analysis by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for the Sutton Trust.

The radical blueprint, Real Apprenticeships, analyses the current situation in England and draws on experiences in Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia and other international systems to set out a path that would transform skills and opportunities for young people in England, and benefit the economy by around £8bn a year.

At present, fewer than 200,000 of the 520,000 apprenticeships starting each year in England are at level 3 (A level standard) or higher, and only 61,000 new apprenticeship starts were created for young people. This compares to 570,000 apprenticeship starts in Germany for young people, 90 percent of which are at level 3 or above. Switzerland has 43 apprentices at level 3 for every 1000 staff, compared with 40 in Germany, 39 in Australia and 33 in Austria. The UK has just six per 1000.

England’s vocational system has 18,000 different qualifications compared with just 330 qualifications in Germany.

[Read more…]