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This paper discusses England’s initiatives to reduce the divide between academic and technical education. Apprenticeships in England which were at Levels 2 and 3 in the national qualifications framework are becoming increasingly higher level.

Level 4-5 Higher Apprenticeships came into being in 2006-7, and by 2016-17, 63% of starts at this Apprenticeship Level were at L5. Degree Apprenticeships (L6 and 7) began in September 2015. In 2016-7 there were 2,000 Level 6 starts and 50 at Level 7. Prompted by major reports by entrepreneurs Doug Richard (Richard, 2012) and Lord David Sainsbury (Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Department for Education, 2016, referred to as the Sainsbury Review), the UK government is undertaking some major reforms to the English technical education system. The reforms cover both secondary and tertiary levels.

Linking the two sectors in the reform process through meaningful pathways and better consumer advice are critical success factors. Specific measures include making apprenticeships more rigorous as well as expanding higher level and degree apprenticeships.

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August 2019

Robin Shreeve

All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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