AAT calls for more focus on apprenticeships amid government proposals for student finance changes

by wrich
Editorial & Advertiser disclosure

 AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) has urged the Government to put more emphasis on alternative routes to employment, including apprenticeships, following today’s announcement on plans to reform student finance.

In a statement earlier today (24 February 2022) the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi MP, outlined plans to extend the Student Loan repayment period from 30 to 40 years whilst reducing the repayment threshold to £25,000.

These changes, billed by the Government as a ‘better deal for the student and the taxpayer’, will more than double repayments for many students.

Responding to the announcement, Phil Hall, Head of Public Affairs and Public Policy, AAT, said:

“Higher Education is a great route to employment for some but it can be an expensive option and the changes made today will make it even less affordable for many.

Recent AAT research has shown high numbers of graduates either regret their degree programme or admit it hasn’t played an important role in their career. This suggests it would make sense for schools and policymakers to do much more to promote alternative routes to employment such as apprenticeships – whether in accountancy or any other subject.

“Apprenticeships not only mean no debt for students but earning a salary whilst learning valuable skills, gaining widely recognised qualifications and getting ahead of the competition too.”

AAT research published this month showed that:

  • Only 29% of 18-24-year-olds said that they heard about alternatives to degrees, such as apprenticeships, while at school. However, 53% of this age group think there should be more resources available to help people learn about apprenticeships.
  • 41% of 18-24-year-olds believe that apprenticeships don’t pay enough and 34% think that apprenticeships are only available for manual labour jobs. Just 36% see apprenticeships as a good alternative to university, whilst only 40% are aware that apprenticeships enable people to earn whilst they learn.
  • 42% of people aged 21-45 believe their degree has not played an essential role in their careers to date and 16% of all people with degrees wish that they had chosen a different route – rising to 20% of those aged 24 and under.

To find out more about AAT apprenticeships and to download our latest apprenticeship guide, please visit the AAT website.

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