Date of release: Friday, October 4, 2013

Journeys to Higher EducationAn increasing number of apprentices nationally are going on to higher education, according to new research from the University of Greenwich. The findings are among the highlights of new research launched today, Friday 4 October, at a conference, Journeys to Higher Education, organised by the university and jointly hosted by the government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

Sharon Smith and Hugh Joslin, from the Centre for Work Based Learning at the university, were commissioned by BIS to track the destinations of nearly 220,000 apprentices between 2004 and 2011. They found that:

* Apprentices may often work for a number of years before progressing to HE. Of apprentices completing their apprenticeship in 2005, 4.6% progressed in the year following but six years later it was found that 15.4% had gone on to university or higher education offered in an FE College.

* Nationally, a higher proportion of apprentices come from deprived backgrounds than other school leavers.

* 78% of apprentices went on to study part-time higher education

In a second report, the authors looked in detail at the numbers and characteristics of students who went to higher education between 2004 and 2010. This highlighted an increase in the proportion of students studying the vocational qualification BTEC going to university in the capital; by 2010 this was nearly one in two. This research, based on 50 further education colleges in London, was commissioned by Linking London, the Lifelong Learning Network for London. A companion report on apprentices in London shows that from a low of 4.6% in 2005, the progression rate of apprentices to either university or an FE college in the capital, increased to 7.6% in 2010.

For these studies Sharon Smith and Hugh Joslin tracked 200,000 London college students and over 13,500 London apprentices over a five year period, showing that in London:

* Around 30% of college students studying vocational, A-level and Access courses progress to university or to Higher Education courses in FE Colleges.

* In 2010 nearly 50% of Access, 65% of A-level and 47% of BTEC full-time students went to either a university or an FE college in London.

* HE students with backgrounds in vocational learning (London apprentices and students from London FE Colleges) are more likely than average to come from the most deprived areas of London.

* Progression of black and minority ethnic background students from the FE sector to university has improved considerably.

* There has also been some improvement in the progression of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

* One cohort is notable for its decline: white, working class individuals.

The reports were commissioned by Linking London, a partnership organisation of 27 members based at Birkbeck, University of London, and funded through an alliance of Linking London and 12 co-funders including the Young People's Education and Skills Team at London Councils, the Association of Colleges, the Edge Foundation and other London colleges and universities.

For further information:

Progression of Apprentices to Higher Education (BIS): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/progression-of-apprentices-to-higher-education]

Progression of College Learners to Higher Education in London 2005 – 09: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/progression-of-apprentices-to-higher-education];

Progression of Apprentices to Higher Education in London 2004 - 2010: http://www.linkinglondon.ac.uk/news/data-research-on-the-progression-of-apprentices-and-college-leavers-in-london-is-now

Story by Public Relations