Apprenticeships are "just as good" as university, according to business secretary Vince Cable, who made the remarks while launching a new campaign to encourage more young people into apprenticeships.
The "Get In, Go Far" campaign is being supported by a number of employers across the country and coincides with the introduction of 40 new employer-designed apprenticeships in sectors including engineering, hospitality and the legal profession.
"For too long there has been a divide between university and vocational education which has been damaging for both employers and young people," Cable said. "Placing university degrees and apprenticeships on an equal footing will help to break down barriers and better meet the needs of business.
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“Since I became Secretary of State we have expanded apprenticeship numbers greatly, particularly higher apprenticeships. The reforms to apprenticeships enable employers to design and deliver apprenticeships that meet their needs, giving young people valuable qualifications and helping them to build successful careers from television production to advanced manufacturing."
Ben Kinross, apprentice engagement officer at NUS and apprentice extra, said: "Both NUS and its new partner the National Society of Apprentices (NSoA) welcome moves to encourage increased access to apprenticeships."
"Although creating apprenticeships that fulfil employers’ immediate needs is important in their sustainment, we believe that including the voices of the apprentices themselves is critical in ensuring a successful future for apprenticeship schemes.
"Apprentices are rightly proud of their apprenticeships and the companies they work for."