Find out why the government is backing practical, work-based learning with Higher Apprenticeships.  

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Higher Apprenticeships: Opportunities for all

Recession and rising unemployment levels have focused both political and business minds on the need to provide opportunities for people from all backgrounds to gain the high-quality skills that can help maintain the strength and competitiveness of the UK economy.

University education has long been viewed as the preferred route into a professional career. However, there's increasing support for an alternative perspective that recognises employability rather than academic achievement as a key driver for recruiting employers. This is leading to an increasing emphasis on the need for qualifications to impart skills that are demand-led and designed to meet employer needs.

Investing in on-the-job skills

Increased investment in work-based learning aims to widen participation and help more relevantly trained individuals to progress into the workplace. Apprenticeships are becoming more widely recognised as the route forward, as they combine development of technical knowledge with on-the-job skills.

For learning providers and learners, this represents a fantastic opportunity.

The government agenda: "World-class skills"

The coalition government has consistently stated its aim to build a “world-class skills system” to support the growth of UK industry.

At the heart of this push lies the revival of the Apprenticeship system. Their policy is driven by a belief that practical learning should be given a level footing with academic learning to rebalance the economy and build a society in which opportunity and reward are fairly distributed.

In the foreseeable future, the shape of that agenda is unlikely to change. Support for the development of Apprenticeship programmes crosses the political divide. Using significant government funding streams, employers are increasingly working in partnership with the work-based learning sector to develop high-quality qualifications to boost the long-term growth potential of the nation.

Investing £250 million to create 50,000 Apprenticeship places

To underline its commitment to the Apprenticeship cause, the government has dedicated significant funding to the development of a new brand of Apprenticeship - the Higher Apprenticeship. This investment is part of a £250 million five-year funding programme that aims to create 50,000 additional Apprenticeship places by 2015.

  • In 2011, there were 2,100 Higher Apprentices in the UK.
  • By 2015, the end of their current term, the government plans to increase that number to 19,000 (an 805% increase).

Through the National Apprenticeship Service, selected sectors have been targeted to increase the development and delivery of Higher Apprenticeships as part of the government’s Plan for Growth.