Higher Ambitions Summit: rapporteur report

Document type
Conference proceedings
Nash, Ian
Sutton Trust
Date of publication
1 July 2014
Education and Skills, Employment
Social welfare
Material type

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Ensuring young people have the skills needed to access good jobs and careers is vital for social mobility. In recent decades, the focus of politicians and policymakers has been on increasing places at university. Higher education remains a vital pathway to opportunity, and will continue to be so. But with higher tuition fees, a tough graduate jobs market and employer demand for workplace skills, there is growing interest in alternatives such as apprenticeships.

The Sutton Trust and Pearson two-day summit on higher ambitions in apprenticeships and vocational education drew more than 120 leaders in education, training and employment, policy makers, academics and researchers to London. Delegates heard from political leaders stressing the importance they attach to high-quality apprenticeships. Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition, spoke of plans for technical degrees created jointly by business and universities – on a par with academic BA honours degrees – to extend opportunities for apprentices and vocational students. Matthew Hancock, the then Minister for Skills and Enterprise, said current government reforms saw apprenticeships “as a ladder of opportunity with many rungs to the top that anyone can climb”.

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