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Maintaining increased higher apprenticeship starts is the silver bullet for economic recovery

New statistics published this morning reveal that the number of higher apprenticeships starts have increased by more than one quarter (27%) in the first quarter of academic year 2021-22, compared to the first quarter of academic year 2020-21, according to the ONS. This is positive news for the nation’s post-pandemic recovery.

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of NCUB said:

“The new statistics published this morning reveal that the number of higher apprenticeship starts have increased by more than one quarter, is welcome news. Higher apprenticeships play a vital role by allowing workers to gain practical workplace experience whilst studying. They enable apprentices to enter the paying job market immediately or reskill whilst continuing to earn. We are hopeful that 2022 will continue to be a large growth year for the number of higher apprenticeships – with hybrid working more embedded, employers are well placed to deliver these high-quality courses. Diversifying pathways into education is vital if we are to meet future skills needs. Indeed, the high numbers of vacancies reported in recent months have led to universities and businesses in the UK to voice serious concerns that we are facing a skills mismatch – higher apprenticeships may well be a silver bullet for getting specially trained people into unfilled jobs.”

Marshall concluded: “However this is no time for complacency. It’s imperative that, now, more than ever, we keep up the momentum on numbers of higher apprenticeship starts. We are calling for further flexibilities to be introduced that allow employers to more easily use part of their apprenticeship levy to fund appropriate training for existing employees, including through higher apprenticeships. This would allow businesses to use their levy for important retraining purposes, but would also protect part of the levy to create new apprenticeship opportunities for young people. Higher apprenticeships will allow for universities and businesses to produce the highly-skilled, adaptable workforce the economy needs to help the nation’s post-pandemic recovery.”

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