Cameron: apprenticeships or universities for ‘almost everybody’

The TES is reporting that David Cameron has said the government wants to see “almost everybody” embark on either an apprenticeship or a university degree.

Addressing the annual conference of the CBI this morning, Mr Cameron said he was keen to see “fewer and fewer” 18-year-olds not becoming an apprentice or progressing to higher education. This follows the announcement by skills minister Nick Boles last week that the government was to instigate an overhaul of technical and professional education, with a view to producing clearer progression routes from school to high-level qualifications.

The Prime Minister’s comments come amid concerns about the future of non-apprenticeship provision within the further education sector. The speech comes just two weeks ahead of the government’s spending review, which is widely expected to include significant funding cuts to the non-apprenticeship FE budget…

Speaking this morning, Mr Cameron told the conference at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London: “At the end of the day, though, we want to see fewer and fewer 18-year-olds leaving school without taking either path. If we’re going to compete in a global economy, then we need to make sure that our young people are more highly skilled, more highly trained than our competitors. So either apprenticeships or universities for almost everybody.”

More at: Cameron: apprenticeships or universities for ‘almost everybody’


Labour once had the aspiration of getting 50% of young people in higher education and now David Cameron is pushing for every young person to go either to university or onto an apprenticeship. 

I guess the issue is that there are apprenticeships and apprenticeships – with huge differences in levels and quality.

What do you think of these comments from David Cameron?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


Apprenticeship or HE for (almost) all - good idea?


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  1. The ‘apprenticeship’ brand would need to be overhauled if it were to become the expected option for those not proceeding to university.  Too much low grade ‘training’ can be hidden under the apprenticeship banner.  Perhaps apprenticeships could be given some kind of kite mark.  And they would need to lead to recognised qualifications.
    All this would cost money, of course, and with funding for 16-19 education in freefall where exactly is the funding for post-18 apprenticeships to come from?  Unless the Government is thinking that apprentices should fund their own training, in which case the disadvantaged would be further disadvantaged.

  2. TW

    The more educated British people are the more things they may contemplate as they sit at home applying for jobs that they know will be given to cheap immigrant labour from the EU in particular.

  3. enablerbro1

    SchoolsImprove ImpetusPEF Why lock 18 year olds in to a pathway? Will 18 year olds leaving private schools be similarly locked in?

  4. ImpetusPEF

    enablerbro1 agree, the ‘comments come amid concerns about the future of non-apprenticeship provision within the further education sector.’

  5. enablerbro1

    ImpetusPEF Is this just reanimating the 11+ and creating a socio-economic meridian at 18? Cameron has no plans to provide equitable access.

  6. thiskidsthinkin

    It is a good idea for 18 year olds leaving school to have some kind of qualifications.Apprenticeships must be meaningful though (some skill it take a few years to learn fully), and the funding must be there. There will always be some who have that enterprising spirit which neither FE or apprenticeships help. I wonder what government plans are for them?

  7. PsychstudyWiggs

    SchoolsImprove assuming a sizeable ‘no’ vote, I’d be interested to know people’s views on:
    “If not HE or Appr, then what?”

  8. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove The schooling of the 20th/90th percentiles having been a ruinously expensive disaster, the PM calls for more of it.

  9. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove Don’t get this. Many will have completed apprenticeships by 18 and be ready for a full time properly paid job.

  10. wraitken

    SchoolsImprove meanwhile back in reality, some 18 year olds have found a job they want with decent pay rather than cheap apprenticeship!

  11. secretunionrep

    SchoolsImprove making university an affordable option for all again, would be a start! Many are put off by the huge debts

Let us know what you think...