The government wants to see “almost everybody” embark on either an apprenticeship or a university degree, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
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.
Last week’s announcement from the Department for Education said the reforms would “significantly raise” the proportion of 17-year-olds taking apprenticeships from the current figure of 6.9 per cent. It added that “only 33 per cent of apprenticeships are delivered by colleges”, a figure the government was also keen to increase.
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.”