Business secretary Vince Cable has announced 4,239 new higher apprenticeships in sectors such as aviation, low carbon engineering, legal services and space engineering.
Providers have been allocated almost £6.5 million to develop the places as part of the second round of the higher apprenticeship fund, which is worth £25 million.
Doing an apprenticeship should be one of the best gateways to university-level study.”
Mr Cable said the new apprenticeships would allow the government to target industries in which skills shortages “are threatening to choke off growth. Higher apprenticeships are an essential step in rebalancing our economy and building a fairer country where growth is spread evenly and opportunities are not limited to the privileged,” he said.
Skills minister John Hayes added: “By radically increasing the number of degree-level apprenticeships we are putting practical learning on a level footing with academic study.
“Doing an apprenticeship should be one of the best gateways to university-level study. Through the higher apprenticeship fund we are creating (a total of) 23,000 places for young people to take degree-equivalent higher apprenticeships.”
The City and Islington College received just over £1.39 million, the largest allocation in the second round, to develop level 4 apprenticeships in engineering and environmental technologies.
David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said the expansion of the scheme underpinned the service’s commitment to raising the quality of apprenticeships.
“Major employers are opening up recruitment and training to young apprentices.
“Young people and their parents can see clear opportunities to climb the jobs ladder right to the top through taking up apprenticeships.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was
allocated £960,000 to develop some of the first higher apprenticeships in accounting and professional services at level 6 and 7.
Meanwhile, Loughborough College received £500,000 in the second round to develop level 4 apprenticeships in space engineering.
Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said developing more high-level skills was “essential” for long-term economic growth.
“Businesses know that building our higher-level skills base has to be an essential part of a successful plan for growth in the long-term,” he said. Future skills shortages in key sectors could hold back our economic performance, so boosting higher-level apprenticeships now is the right thing to do.”
Mr Carberry said that he supported the government’s decision to focus on sectors such as advanced manufacturing and IT.
“Young people need to know that higher apprenticeships are a great route to a
successful career, as they can build higher level skills while learning on-the-job with an employer,” he said.