Apprentices: Disadvantaged

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd March 2020.

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Photo of Lee Anderson Lee Anderson Conservative, Ashfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to promote apprenticeships as an alternative to university for school leavers from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Degree apprenticeships offer people of all ages and from all backgrounds the chance to earn while they learn and access a range of professions. We are committed to continuing to raise the profile of higher and degree apprenticeships as a genuine, high-quality alternative to traditional academic study, and want to make sure we reach those from disadvantaged areas and backgrounds who might not otherwise have considered higher education as an option.

In addition to our awareness-raising work through the Fire it Up marketing campaign, National Apprenticeship Week, and in conjunction with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), we have introduced a range of targeted programmes to widen participation in apprenticeships, with a particular focus on higher and degree apprenticeships.

Our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge (ASK) programme continues to work in schools and colleges in disadvantaged areas, providing free resources to support teachers to inform and inspire young people and introduce them to the range of apprenticeship opportunities available. Within the ASK programme, a Priority Schools pilot project supports 40 schools across England to provide disadvantaged students with information on apprenticeships.

‘Opportunities through Apprenticeships’, a pilot project launched in November 2018, seeks to encourage apprenticeship starts in sectors that offer higher wage-earning potential and progression opportunities. Four local authorities involved in this pilot – Portsmouth, Nottingham, South Tyneside, and Torbay – are leading local projects to identify skills gaps, encourage new training provision, and promote apprenticeships to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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