Extending access to student finance could help more people on to apprenticeships

Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham proposes reforming the funding model for post-18 education, including apprenticeships, as part of his vision for FE.

This week is a time of nervous anticipation for many young people, as they wait to find out their A-level and AS-level results

Newpapers will be full of jubilant teenagers excited about their next step in life, but we hear little about the 50 per cent of young people who do not go to university.

It is a telling silence.

And it can be little wonder that many of our young people do not choose to take up apprenticeships, when they hear little of them.

They don’t know how to find the places, they don’t hear about the success stories, and few of their friends and families can help them.

We have to raise the status of technical education to give it equal value to academic education.

This is vital to our economy, vital to ensuring that we have the high tech skills of the future, and vital to the futures of millions of young people across the country.

A lack of focus on technical education is one of our greatest public policy failures of the last 50 years.

It cannot be allowed to continue.

A bright young person who wants to get an apprenticeship should have the same ambition, excitement and sense of purpose as their counterparts who want to go to university.

Just like university students, they should have an easy way to learn about the opportunities across the UK and be able to apply for them in the same way.

The best way to raise standards in schools is to give all young people hope that there is something waiting for them after school.

So if I’m elected leader, I will propose a national Ucas-style system for apprenticeships — one that all providers have to use — and extend access to student finance to help people to move to take up an apprenticeship.

I will also propose a reformed funding model for post-18 education, looking at a progressive graduate tax to replace tuition fees for university, and extend support for apprenticeships.

No young person should have to start their career weighed down by a millstone of debt.

Labour will lift it off them.

We should be able to make a simple promise to all our young people.

If you work hard at school and get the good grades, you will know you will be able to get a high-quality apprenticeship or place at university.

It is at the heart of what a Labour Party under my leadership will be all about.

Making sure everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, can get on in life.

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One comment

  1. Suzanne Savage

    There is nothing here about FE colleges and 16-18 funding. I wonder if Burnham even understands who the FE Week audience is? His only reference is when he seems to suggest students should have to pay for their own apprenticeships: “extend access to student finance to help people to move to take up an apprenticeship”. Disappointing.