According to Degree Apprenticeships: Up to Standard?, launched by Policy Connect and the Higher Education Commission today, “degree apprenticeship cold spots” could be emerging in areas of severe educational and economic disadvantage, meaning that prospective apprentices have to travel significant distances to access opportunities. Tes reports
After collecting data from the government’s Find an Apprenticeship website and analysing locations of degree apprenticeship vacancies, the commission mapped these opportunities against the top 20 education and employment “cold spots” in the country as identified by the Learning and Work Institute and the top “hot spots”.
A separate report from the Social Mobility Commission published today suggests that training funds for specific groups, including older men, should be ring-fenced.
“This snapshot suggests that those already benefiting from educational and employment hot spots are also those in the greatest proximity to degree apprenticeship vacancies, while those in areas of less opportunity have to travel much further to find a degree apprenticeship vacancy.”
An aspiring apprentice from Norfolk could, on average, have to travel 12 times as far for the nearest opportunities, compared with someone from Hammersmith and Fulham, the report concludes. It is calling for additional financial support for prospective degree apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially those from cold spots.
Considering evidence from employers such as the NHS, IBM, Boots and BAE Systems, as well as from HE providers and sector leaders, the commission also found that of 51 approved degree apprenticeship standards, 43 per cent have no providers that are delivering to SMEs – despite small and medium-sized enterprises making up the majority of UK businesses.
Tom McEwan, author of the report, said: “If the government takes seriously its commitment to driving forward social mobility and increasing productivity then it must act to ensure that degree apprenticeships are implemented in a way that is fit for that purpose, enabling small businesses and young people who would benefit most from the provision to do so.”
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