The Skills Commission has published a report – Progression into Apprenticeships – which praises government efforts to get more people involved but says it should be easier for apprentices to then access higher education.
It also called for an overhaul of all vocational learning programmes so participants can monitor their own progress and access the training they need to turn diplomas into apprenticeships. Further, it wants a clearer definition of what’s involved in programme-led apprenticeships; those in which the individual completes the course without an employer.
Skills Secretary John Denham said he welcomed the report and said government will be looking at ways it can help. He pointed to a New Opportunities paper published in January which revealed Apprenticeships are to count towards the UCAS tariff – the points system universities use to gauge applicants by.
“Apprenticeships are valuable in their own right,” said Denham, “but I believe there should be clear progression routes for young people and adults who complete their apprenticeships and want to go further – whether that’s onto an advanced apprenticeship, a diploma or a foundation degree and beyond.
“Alongside this, I want universities to offer high-level vocational courses to meet the needs of students who have come up through vocational routes. Vocational routes to higher education are important. But it is also important that vocational training should continue to higher levels.”
Denham also said government will be looking at ways of redeveloping vocational degrees – the courses apprenticeships currently lead to – to make them more effective for both employers and learners.
“Demand for apprenticeships far outstrips supply and they’re proving increasingly popular with young people and adults alike. More and more people will reach the threshold of university education through vocational routes, such as apprenticeships. Our education system must be able accommodate those people and help them gain higher levels of skills and qualifications.”