Government plans new apprenticeships to give school leavers a university-free route into top jobs

Young people could soon be able to have a good career without having to get into debt at university as the Government has revealed plans to offer on-the-job training to the same level as a degree or even a Masters.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said he recognised that studying for a degree did not suit everyone.

But he said this should not stop people being able to fulfil their ambitions of working in areas like law, accountancy and insurance.

So the Government is in talks to offer apprenticeships which will provide an alternative way into some of the top professions.

And Mr Hancock told The Daily Telegraph the initiative is likely to start during 2013.

At the moment young people can complete apprenticeships, which are considered the same standard as finishing the first year of a degree.

But the new training schemes will take this a step further and mean young people could learn their trade with companies rather than in university lecture theatres.

Mr Hancock said major firms like Rolls-Royce, Marshalls and BAE are already helping to raise the standard of apprenticeships.

And he said the Government's new plans would allow people wanting to become a solicitor or accountant to start on-the-job training from day one rather than having to spend three years at university first.

He wrote in an article for the Telegraph that he wanted to see a whole range of new apprenticeships which would make a number of top careers in a wide variety of industries more accessible.

The new higher apprenticeships would be at levels six - the equivalent of a bachelor's degree - and seven (the same level as a Masters) and are expected to be introduced during 2013.

They may tempt school leavers wanting to get started on their career straight away who are reluctant to pay the tuition fees charged by universities.

The Government is already meeting with BPP Law School to discuss the possibility of developing an apprenticeship which will train school leavers to become solicitors.

And Mr Hancock said PricewaterhouseCoopers is working on creating a training scheme which would give people a Master's level qualification in auditing, accountancy or tax.

Copyright Press Association 2013