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Apprentices: Disadvantaged

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th October 2018.

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Photo of Ben Bradley Ben Bradley Conservative, Mansfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake apprenticeships.

Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton Minister of State (Education)

We want to ensure that high quality apprenticeships are a prestigious option, accessible to all people from all backgrounds. We are encouraging take up from under-represented groups so that even more people can benefit from the increased wage and employment prospects that apprenticeships offer.

The latest phase of our marketing campaign, Get In Go Far, ran until the end of September 2018 and coincided with August's exam results period when young people look at the options available to them after school or college. This aimed to help increase the number of vacancies created by employers and encourage young people to choose an apprenticeship as a high quality career route, signposting them to new vacancies on offer.

Our funding policy recognises where additional support is necessary, through extra funding where the costs of supporting an apprentice are higher, making sure these costs are met by the government, not by the employer. For example, we provide £1,000 to both employers and training providers when they take on 16 to 18 year olds and 19 to 24 year olds who were in care or who have an Education, Health and Care Plan. Earlier this year, we introduced a new bursary for care leavers starting apprenticeships. This £1,000 bursary is available to all care leavers aged 16 to 24 and is paid directly to the apprentice.

To further social mobility and to make sure that a higher quality outcome for individuals is achieved, we want our reforms to mean more apprentices from disadvantaged areas are undertaking apprenticeships at a higher level, or in sectors that offer increasing value to the learner. Over the next two years, the National Apprenticeship Service is focusing on raising the value of apprenticeships undertaken in disadvantaged areas. This includes a broad-based employer engagement campaign across the 20 per cent most deprived local authority areas (65 areas in total) and working with local partners.

We are also increasing the take up of degree apprenticeships through the Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund. In 2017-18, as part of the bidding process, we specifically encouraged bids that improve access to Degree Apprenticeships for disadvantaged and under-represented groups and bids that expand provision in science, technology, engineering and maths occupations (STEM) and gender diversity in STEM.

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