Shadow Universities Minister calls for university-employer collaboration

In a pamphlet for the Social Market Foundation think-tank, Liam Byrne, Labour’s shadow Universities Minister, put forward plans for new technical universities, offering earn-while-you-learn degrees in technical subjects.

The universities would collaborate with employers, offering a range of technical degree subjects to students who could be earning on apprenticeships while they study.

Byrne said: “The choice in higher education is now clear. Watch the university system slowly go bust and lose its place as a global science leader or choose a different path. To escape this Government’s cost of living crisis, we’ve got to build a bigger knowledge economy, home to better paid jobs and open to anyone with talent no matter whether they want an academic or technical path in life.”

What young people want is a genuine choice of an earn-while-you-learn route to degree level skills. Too many people are being pushed down a one-size-fits-all route where the only way to a degree is a full-time, three-year programme. Young people want a better choice than this which is why the Jaguar Land Rover apprenticeship system – which takes workers to degree level skills and beyond while they’re working – is more competitive than Oxford University.”