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Standards ‘not fit for purpose’ on degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships will not make a significant difference to social mobility unless “urgent changes” are made to reduce bureaucracy for firms and improve apprenticeship standards, the Higher Education Commission has claimed.

Following an inquiry into degree apprenticeships, the commission found that while the qualifications have economic potential and could improve social mobility, degree apprenticeship standards are often “not fit for purpose”.

“Employers welcomed the principle of being put in the driving seat to develop standards against the skills needed in the economy, but our evidence shows the practice does not live up to the ideal,” wrote the report’s authors, Conservative peer Philip Norton, chair of the Higher Education Commission, and Smita Jamdar, head of education at law firm Shakespeare Martineau. “A range of employers were concerned that standards are inflexible and could quickly become out-of-date in relation to future skills needs.”

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