Apprenticeships would equal degrees, says Labour leader

31/01/13

Ed Miliband

Becoming an apprentice would be seen as equal to going to university, under plans being set out by the Labour party.

They also want government ministers and companies that spend public money to offer a set number of what they call "quality apprenticeships".

Unemployment among under-25s is still close to one million.

Labour leader Ed Miliband calls school and college leavers that don't go to university "the forgotten 50%".

Under the plans, firms that win contracts to build high speed rail services between London, Leeds and Manchester, for example, would be told to take on one apprentice for each £1 million they get of taxpayer's money.

'Second best'

Ed Miliband has told Newsbeat, if he were prime minister, there would be a single application system for apprenticeships and degrees so people think of the two pathways as equal but different.

He said: "At the moment we have a problem in this country, which is that going to university is first best and that it's second best if you don't."

The coalition government says the availability of apprenticeships has increased at a record rate since they came to power and at a faster rate than the last Labour government projected.

Ed Miliband and Dave Howard
Image caption Newsbeat reporter Dave Howard speaks to Ed Miliband

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