November 28, 2014

UK launches degree apprenticeships

A new higher education program in the UK will allow young people to gain a full honors degree and job training, whilst earning a wage.

The Degree Apprenticeship qualifications will be implemented from September 2015, focused on the digital and software industries.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said that the aim of the scheme is to combine degree-level learning with on-the-job practical training.

He said that this should "ensure that education and training routes are providing the skills which employers need now and in the future."

The government will pay two-thirds of the costs and fees, while employers will cover additional costs along with the trainee’s wages. The apprentice will not pay any fees themselves.

It is hoped that the structure of this program will combine the benefits of formal and practical education, and help to increase the flow of skills into the technology industry.

Our authors have also discussed the comparative benefits of degrees and apprenticeship schemes. Robert Lerman observes that the apprentice’s contribution to production is often large enough to offset the added costs, adding that retaining apprentices can also lower a firm’s recruitment and training costs. His research shows that boosting the number of apprenticeship schemes alone can significantly help to lower youth unemployment.

Meanwhile, Douglas Webber acknowledges that education remains the most certain path to financial stability, but that the rate of return varies widely across institutional and individual factors.

Read more here.

Related article:
Is the return to education the same for everybody? by Douglas Webber
Do firms benefit from apprenticeship investments? by Robert Lerman