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Apprenticeships are twice as popular as degrees

28 February, 2014

More than twice as many young people in the UK are choosing engineering apprenticeships compared to those doing degree courses, an analysis by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has revealed.

It cites figures from the Skills Funding Agency that show that 66,410 young people started an apprenticeship in engineering and manufacturing technologies during 2012/13. This is more than double the 27,155 people who were accepted onto engineering higher education courses in 2013, according to UCAS figures. In total, 510,200 people started apprenticeships during 2012/13, compared to the 495,595 who were accepted for places for degree courses in 2013.

“With a university degree costing £27,000 in fees alone, and with no guarantee of a job at the end of the course, apprenticeships are more popular than ever with young people,” comments the IET’s membership director, Michelle Richmond, who is a former apprentice. “Engineering, which is fundamental to a healthy economy, is one of few professions where there is a range of entry routes for young people to start their journey to becoming a well-respected professional engineer. And with the recent Government Trailblazer initiative – led by the IET and other industry leaders to introduce new standards to make sure apprenticeships meet employer needs – we can only expect apprenticeships to go from strength to strength.”

“Apprenticeship programmes create a pipeline of exceptionally talented young engineers,” adds Nigel Whitehead, group managing director of programmes and support at BAE Systems. “In tough economic times, it is even more important that businesses plan for the long term and continue to invest in skills and developing talent in the workplace.”

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