To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's paper, SFR56/2017 published on 15 February 2018, what plans his Department has to increase the take-up of apprenticeships through university technical colleges; and if he will make a statement.
The University Technical College (UTC) programme has an important role to play in our reforms to technical education, with strong UTCs succeeding in equipping young people with the skills businesses need, getting them into employment and supporting social mobility.
During 2015/2016, 20% of students studying in Key Stage 5 at a UTC the previous year, progressed into apprenticeships, twice as high as for any other type of mainstream school or college. At Key Stage 4, 12% of pupils leaving UTCs progressed into apprenticeships, double the national average.
We want to see this encouraging early performance continue. UTCs are set up to address a defined local skills gap and this early data on sustained destinations demonstrates that many UTCs are achieving their goal. We are taking a systematic approach to supporting the programme, including funding intensive support from local teaching schools and supporting UTCs with pupil recruitment.
It is also crucial that employers take a sustained and embedded role in supporting the UTC programme. Employers are essential to UTCs’ marketing efforts, as they can demonstrate to pupils how attending the UTC can lead to a successful career. Employers are vital to ensuring that the curriculum design and delivery provides pupils with the skills that they need in their companies. Only by strong engagement from their employer sponsors can UTCs continue to prove successful in getting pupils into apprenticeships.