Sunday 4 November 2007

Making apprenticeships attractive

Schools secretary Ed Balls is right to talk up apprenticeships as key to getting more young people to stay in education or training, which legislation due to be announced in this week's Queen's Speech is likely to make compulsory until age 17 in 2013 and 18 in 2015. But for that to happen, the government not only needs to ensure young people can make better choices, it also needs to avoid making it more attractive for those who should be doing apprenticeships to stay on in education. There are signs that education maintenance allowances, in encouraging more to stay at school or college, may also have dissuaded a significant number from opting for work-based routes. Getting that balance right will be vital if this legislation is to increase opportunity rather than simply boosting staying-on rates.

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