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Cameron pushes for more apprenticeships

Apprenticeships must become “the new norm” for young people leaving school who choose not to go to university, Prime Minister David Cameron will say at the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week.

Apprentices could add up to £3.4bn a year in economic gains and Whitehall estimated that over 500,000 people started apprenticeships between 2011 and 2012.

Cameron will say: “Our drive to reform and strengthen apprenticeships, raising standards and making them more rigorous... means that an apprenticeship is increasingly seen as a first choice career move.

“But we need to challenge ourselves to go even further, that is why I want it to be the new norm for young people to either go to university or into an apprenticeship.

“We need to look at how we can expand apprenticeship opportunities so that they are available to all young people who are ready and eager to take them up, and aspire to get ahead in life.”

The Government is also due to issue a formal response to the Richard Review on improving the quality of apprenticeships.

However, new research from the CIPD suggests that the public perception of apprenticeships must be challenged.

A survey of 400 working parents found that almost half believe apprenticeships are more appropriate for ‘blue collar’ jobs, with less than a fifth believing they have the same status as a university education.

Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, said: “Misperceptions about apprenticeships prevail, which is likely to impact the supply of potential candidates for employers that do offer apprenticeships and deter those that don’t from adapting their recruitment methods.

“Our research shows there is still work to be done to improve the parity of esteem between the many excellent employer-led apprenticeship programmes and university education. Our economy needs both routes to thrive.”

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