Submission to the Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy inquiry on apprenticeships
18 March 2016
As large employers, who will now be paying the apprenticeship levy, Russell Group universities are exploring how best to further their use of apprenticeships to develop their staff, and whether they can also work with employers to offer degree apprenticeships.
However, there are additional costs for universities in developing degree apprenticeship provision, and concerns that new provision may not be sustainable. So far, there is limited evidence of demand for degree apprenticeships from apprentices or employers.
The additional bureaucracy associated with delivering apprenticeships and higher costs for some subjects will require additional fee or other income from employers to maintain excellent standards. A ‘top-up’ for high cost subjects from levy underspends elsewhere would be appropriate.
Good information, advice and guidance needs to be given to those students who are considering an apprenticeship or a degree apprenticeship, and it should be noted that the Government’s targets for training more apprentices may, in turn, make it harder for universities to widen participation in higher education.