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Degree apprenticeships – but only for young people?

by on December 2, 2014

Last week saw the Government announcement of degree apprenticeships which, according to the press release, ‘will allow young people to complete a full honours degree alongside their employment while paying no student fees and earning a wage throughout’.

But only ‘young people’? That seems to be how the scheme is reported but I wonder if the scheme can be restricted to people below a certain age.

The first of these ‘degree apprenticeships’ are apparently going to be launched in the digital sector to meet what are expected to be ‘one million vacancies expected in the next decade’ (one million being a nice round number).

The potential saving to those who take part is considerable. Two-thirds of the course costs will be covered by the Government, up to a maximum cap that has yet to be decided. Employers will cover the rest, while also paying the apprentice a wage. On the face of it, this looks like an attractive option for those wishing to do a degree in this area.

The story was covered in the media as here on the BBC News website and here on the Times Higher Education website.

Organizations who have signed up to provide are said to include Accenture, BT, Capgemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HM Revenue and Customs, Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group, Network Rail and Tata Consulting Services. So some quite significant employers. Universities include UCL. Prospective apprentices must apply to work at these companies when vacancies are advertised next year, and these companies will then work with universities to select those students they believe are best suited to the degree. Could age be a factor at the application or selection stage of this process? If anyone has any further information on this, I’d be really keen to hear.

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