Apprenticeships ‘to be route into top jobs’

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School leavers will be encouraged to train for jobs in the top professions through an apprenticeship instead of studying at university, it has emerged.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said the typical degree route into the highest positions in insurance, accounting and law was “not for everyone” but that should not block a young person from pursuing their chosen career.

Apprenticeships are already available to the same level as the first year of a degree but training schemes up to the equivalent of a Masters will be recognised from next year, he revealed.

Mr Hancock said the quality of apprenticeships was improving.

“Now we want to go further, offering apprenticeships instead of university as a route into the professions including insurance, accounting and law,” he wrote in an article for the newspaper.

“At the moment, to become qualified as a solicitor, accountant, or in insurance, the typical route involves three years at university, then on-the-job training and professional qualifications. But university is not for everyone. There is no reason why you can’t attain the same qualifications, without the degree, starting on-the-job training in an apprenticeship from day one.

“So I want apprenticeships spanning craft, technical and professional jobs that open up work-based routes to the top.

“There are successful higher apprenticeship schemes already in place... I now want to see more courses that truly match graduate and postgraduate qualifications.

“From next year, apprenticeships at levels six and seven – bachelors and masters degree level – will be officially recognised for the first time.”

The Government is in talks with the BPP Law School over an apprenticeship that will lead to a qualification as a solicitor and PricewaterhouseCoopers is developing a master’s-level apprenticeship for a qualification in audit, accountancy or tax, Mr Hancock said.