I was of course pleased when the government listened to mounting calls through our SaveOurApprenticeships campaign for a rethink on apprenticeship funding cuts.

Credit should go to FE’s new minister Robert Halfon for taking on board the findings of our initial analysis showing how younger learners in deprived areas would have been worst hit, and by all accounts making it a personal crusade to pressure stubborn civil servants into taking action.

The resulting funding announcement of an extra 20 per cent on the band limit for 16-18 year-olds, and £60 million of “additional support in areas of disadvantage”, was a big step in the right direction.

But to use a well-worn cliché, our subsequent number crunching showed that while the campaign may have triumphed in the first battle, the war for truly fair funding still has to be won.

We all want reformed apprenticeships to break down class barriers.

They won’t do that if younger people, especially those in deprived areas, miss out on what should be life enhancing opportunities.


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