“We cannot meet apprentice demand” college boss tells Andy Burnham

During a tour of Prospects College in Basildon by MP Andy Burnham, the principal has said how his college only has one apprenticeship placement for every four applicants it is receiving.

Neil Bates called for more financial backing to support those wanting to become an apprentice as he explained how Prospects College has had over 1,500 applications to its courses but can only offer 400.

Bates said: “If any government is going to set ambitious targets to grow numbers of people on apprenticeships, funding has to be made available.

Budgets are very tight and we don’t know from one year to the next if we will have sufficient funding to offer the number of apprenticeships that are being demanded.

It is a very strange situation. The Government is keen to see growth, but we cannot meet demand.”

The Labour leadership hopeful criticised Westminster politicians for being “obsessed” with promoting universities above alternative options for young people, including apprenticeships.

Speaking to the college’s staff and apprentices, Burnham suggested that university students receive significantly more funding and financial help than apprentices.

He said: “I think it’s great to have half of young people going to university, but it’s time to focus on the other half.

Why can’t people wanting to focus on high-level apprenticeships access the same funding as university students?

If we want a fair country, we have got to have an education system that supports everyone.”