PM Rishi Sunak Pledges 100,000 High-Skilled Apprenticeships Annually

PM Rishi Sunak Pledges 100,000 High-Skilled Apprenticeships Annually
credit: reuters

London (Parliament News) – Rishi Sunak pledges 100,000 apprenticeships annually by replacing “rip-off degrees” with high-skilled programs. Conservatives plan to save £910m by shutting down underperforming university courses and enhancing job opportunities and financial security for youth.

PM Rishi Sunak has pledged to create 100,000 high-skilled apprenticeships a year by dumping “rip-off degrees” if he succeeds in the general election. In the latest of a flurry of statements, as the Conservatives try to limit Labour’s 20-point poll lead, the party promised to replace “low-quality” university degrees with apprenticeships.

Under the programs, there would be legislation granting more significant powers to the Office for Students, the university regulator, to shut down degree courses that are underperforming. These would be determined based on drop-out rates, job progression and future earnings potential.

How will shutting down “rip-off degrees” fund apprenticeships?

The Conservatives expressed creating 100,000 high-skilled apprenticeships would command £885m by the end of the next parliament in 2029-30. This would be spent for by shutting down the worst-performing university extents, which would save an estimated £910m.

Sunak stated that “improving education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet for boosting life chances”. He pledged to create thousands more apprenticeships by “putting an end to rip-off degrees and offering our young people the employment opportunities and financial security they need to thrive”.

The Conservatives argue to have delivered 5.8m apprenticeships since 2010. But the number of people jumping out on apprenticeships in England is in downfall, falling from 500,000 in 2015 to 337,000 last year, according to Commons library statistics.

Will Labour’s skills levy compete with Sunak’s apprenticeships?

Labour has promised to replace the apprenticeship levy with a transition and skills levy to fund other types of activity. It would allow companies to use 50% of their funds to spend on non-apprenticeship training.

As they tossed their apprenticeship policy, the Conservatives struck New Labour’s legacy of getting more young people to university. In 1999, Tony Blair set a target to get 50% of young adults into higher education.

Gillian Keegan, the education secretary who finished an apprenticeship at a car factory in Kirkby, stated: “When Labour were in power they pushed an arbitrary target to get half of young people to university, creating a boom in low-quality degrees – leaving far too many students saddled with debt and little else.

“The choice is clear. Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour party who have contempt for apprenticeships, or Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives who have a clear goal to give young people the best start to their careers.”

How effective are Conservative claims of 5.8m apprenticeships?

Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, expressed the announcement was “laughable”, citing the decline in apprenticeships. “Why on earth should parents and young people think they’ll create training options now, after 14 years of failing to deliver opportunities for young people and the skills required to grow our economy?” she stated.

“Labour will get our economy expanding again by gearing apprenticeships to young people and delivering a new development and skills levy to provide the skills businesses need. We’ll form a new generation of technical excellence colleges, operating with employers and our world-class universities, to get people into good jobs in their area.”

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.