UK ‘needs an Ucas for apprentices’ – MP

A Conservative MP has called on the government to put apprenticeships on an equal footing with University by involving admissions agency Ucas in the selection process. Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond in Surrey, said in an article today that providing a more efficient and popular method of directing young people post-16 could massively increase young people’s participation in apprenticeships.

Sunak said that despite the huge increase in apprenticeship numbers, participation of school leavers has barely changed. “Although we typically think of apprentices as young people, 16-19 year olds account for just 5% of the increase in new apprentices. Clearly there is a problem.”

And while Sunak suggests raising the status of vocational training – particularly in parents’ eyes – there needs to be better mechanism for directing young people into apprenticeships.

“If we’re serious about spreading opportunity to everybody, we need Ucas for apprenticeships,” Sunak says.

“By making Ucas the home of apprenticeships as well as universities we can bolster the confidence of teachers, students and parents, among whom the Ucas brand carries considerable status.

 

‘Easy access to young talent would help employers’

At the same time, the promise of direct, easy access to young talent would incentivise more employers – particularly smaller businesses who lack the HR infrastructure to efficiently recruit – to create apprenticeships.  This would help close the gap between the UK and other leading nations where SMEs are almost twice as likely to take on an apprentice.”

And it’s not just those pursuing apprenticeships that would benefit from the move, Sunak believes. “Putting apprenticeships on the same platform as universities would provide the competitive pressure necessary to force weaker universities and degrees to up their game.