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UK: Degree-level apprenticeships to offer alternative route into the professions

06:00 30 December 2012

Skills Minister and West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock

Skills Minister and West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock

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APPRENTICESHIPS offering qualifications equivalent to graduate and post-graduate level studies are to become available in subjects including law, accountancy and advanced engineering.

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The move, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ agenda to create a more educated and flexible workforce, offers a potential route into the professions for candidates from non-traditional backgrounds who prefer vocational learning to university education.

Changes to the Specification of Apprentices Standards for England (SASE) which take effect next year will make level six and level seven apprenticeships – equivalent to Bachelors and Masters degree level – available for the first time.

A number of schemes are already in development, in areas including accountancy, law and human resources.

Among the organisations involved is BPP Law School which is looking to develop a Legal Apprenticeship pathway as an alternative route to qualification as a solicitor and is currently in discussion with the relevant regulatory body and sector skills council, Skills for Justice, to progress its proposals.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said yesterday: “In the past, apprenticeships were restricted to only some trades, and some parts of the economy.

“Now we are introducing apprenticeships in all types of jobs, including a new route to the professions, to ensure everyone can reach their potential.

“These new apprenticeships will help more young people to receive on-the-job training at top companies like BPP Law School, ensuring a vocational route to success in accounting, insurance, and the law.”

The BPP Law School has eight bases around the UK, at locations including Cambridge, London, Birmingham, Swindon, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

James Hammill, director at BPP Professional Apprenticeships, said: “We are committed to improving social mobility and diversity in the work place by opening up some of the most prestigious professions and employers to school leavers as an alternative to the traditional route.

“Apprenticeships are an excellent way for employers to recruit talent early and design a structured training programme that incorporates technical learning as well as invaluable work based skills,” he added.

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