Responding to the government’s announcement on Degree Apprenticeships today, Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills said:

 

“Ed Vaizey’s meagre announcement of 150 new apprenticeships places is nowhere near enough to fix the country’s skills crisis. Labour has announced clear, bold plans on apprenticeships and earn-while-you learn-degrees. That’s the polar opposite of the woeful lack of ambition we’ve seen from the Tory-led Coalition.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

 

1. Today just 16,000 out of 640,000 apprenticeships reach degree level skills. Since 2010 there are now 17,000 fewer apprenticeships for under-19 year olds.

 

The issue is particularly serious in the area of digital skills. The number of people starting ICT apprenticeships has fallen by 24% since 2010 and new starts on computer science degrees are down by 1/3rd over the past decade. The need for digital skills is only going to grow: the Science Council estimates that the ICT workforce alone will grow by 39% by 2030.

 

2. Labour’s plans to tackle the national skills crisis include a pledge to bring the number of apprentices into line with those taking a degree and a national mission to address the shortfall of 400,000 engineers by 2020.