Proposals including capping university tuition fees at £7,500 have been set out in a new government-commissioned report.
The Augar report, published following a review of post-18 education, includes a set of recommendations that could have implications for the future delivery of further and higher education, including apprenticeships.
Alongside lowering tuition fees, the report recommends reintroducing maintenance grants for students from low-income households and proposes that further education colleges receive capital investment, in addition to funding for T levels, to improve the quality and capacity of technical and professional education.
For employers, the potential impacts of the recommendations include:
- a graduate workforce better equipped to meet the economy’s needs
- more young people with higher technical skills
- more opportunities to upskill and reskill older workers through the extension of the Level 2 and 3 entitlements and lifelong learning
- a rejuvenated further education network better able to collaborate with employers and regional bodies
- a streamlined and flexible apprenticeship system to support small and medium size enterprises in key sectors.
The report also acknowledges some of the issues that have emerged following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and contains a number of recommendations for apprenticeships.
These include restricting funding for those who already hold a degree qualification, addressing the barriers faced by small and medium size employers and making the process for approving apprenticeship standards more transparent.
The review, launched in February 2018, was set up to look at three key areas; how education and training is delivered, whether employers are getting the skilled workforce they need, and does the system represent value for money for students and taxpayers.
The recommendations will be considered as part of the autumn comprehensive spending review.
The full report is available to read and download on the government website.