Mansfield MP delighted to see government backing diversity in education

Each year, National Apprenticeship Week seeks to showcase the work apprentices do, and recognise how employers of all shapes and sizes have stepped up to provide apprenticeships.

Monday, 15th February 2021, 8:20 am

In my role as a further education (FE) ambassador, I spoke to an apprentice called Charlotte last week.

She is currently doing a human resources apprenticeship with Broxtowe Borough Council and it was brilliant to hear about her positive experiences and that she has already been offered a permanent role.

Charlotte also had a positive message for people of ages considering apprenticeships as the way forward and really emphasised the benefits of simultaneously earning and learning.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ben Bradley is pleased to see the government supporting schemes like T-levels to help young people gain more technical qualifications

I would like to thank her for meeting with me and wish her the best for the future.

I have been clear in the past of the need for Britain’s education system to be diverse in the opportunities it offers.

A-Levels, then university, is not the only route to a successful career.

This is why I was pleased to see the apprentice cash boost announced last September.

This is a £2,000 grant paid to businesses who take on apprentices under the age of 25 and £1,500 for those over the age of 25.

One way in which the government has built on this desire to diversify career paths in education, is the introduction of T-levels which launched in September last year.

These are new post-GCSE courses, equivalent to A-Levels but more focused on technical skills, that allow students to gain an industry placement while having their knowledge topped up in the classroom.

While only a few courses of this type began last year, the plan is to open up T-levels to 24 different subjects across the country in the next few years.

Opportunities to train, to ‘earn and learn’ and take on new skills are going to be absolutely vital for people of all ages in the coming months as we look to recover from the pandemic.

Our FE reforms will look to help by offering lifelong finance for learning, plus free opportunities to access level three qualifications for anyone who doesn’t have one.

Apprenticeships can also play a big role, and they’ve come so far in recent years.

It might surprise you to know that the average starting salary for a degree apprentice is £18,000 and they typically earn more after graduating that those taking a standard full time degree.

I was delighted to spend some time talking apprentices and FE last week and promoting those opportunities.

I’m equally pleased that Government is taking this kind of education seriously as it has so much to offer for so many people.

Ben Bradley is MP for Mansfield.