Accountancy and law latest to benefit from apprenticeship fund

21 Jun 12
Business Secretary Vince Cable today launched 4,230 new ‘Higher Apprenticeships’ to fill skill gaps in sectors such as accountancy, the law and social care.

By Richard Johnstone | 22 June 2012

Business Secretary Vince Cable today launched 4,230 new ‘Higher Apprenticeships’ to fill skill gaps in sectors such as accountancy, the law and social care.

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The second round of funding from the £25m programme, worth almost £6.5m, will support the development of nine new schemes, which also include firms in aviation, low carbon engineering and space engineering.

Higher Apprenticeships allow workers to study at degree-level study while working with employers and getting paid. The aim is to widen access to some jobs.


Among the new schemes, PricewaterhouseCoopers will develop an apprenticeship to provide an alternative route into accountancy careers, as well as increasing diversity in the financial sector.


Announcing the new schemes, Cable said the apprenticeships were ‘an essential step in rebalancing our economy and building a fairer country’.


He added: ‘Through the Higher Apprenticeship Fund we can target sectors where skills shortages are threatening to choke off growth.


‘They also help us break down the doors of professions that are not representative of the society in which we live. It cannot be right, for example, that only 4% of registered commercial airline pilots are women.’


The announcement follows an examination of the government’s apprenticeship programme by the Public Accounts Committee
last month. MPs found the department had ‘done very well’ to more than quadruple the number of adult apprenticeship places in only four years.

Skills minister John Hayes added that radically increasing the number of degree-level apprenticeships would put ‘practical learning on a level footing with academic study’.


The new places follow the award of funding to 21 schemes last December. Hayes added: ‘Doing an apprenticeship should be one of the best gateways to university-level study. Through the Higher Apprenticeship Fund we are creating 23,000 places for young people to take degree-equivalent Higher Apprenticeships in sectors like space engineering and renewable energy.’


The CBI welcomed the announcement. Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at the business group, said: ‘Future skills shortages in key sectors could hold back our economic performance, so boosting higher level apprenticeships now is the right thing to do. Sectors like high-technology and science-based advanced manufacturing and IT are a good place to start.


‘Young people need to know that Higher Apprenticeships are a great route to a successful career, as they can build higher level skills while learning on-the-job with an employer.’
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