26 Jun 2019
Members of the Science Industry Partnership (SIP) which embraces life and industrial sciences, have responded to the Independent panel report Review of Post-18 Education and Funding.
The SIP has said that Panel Chair Dr Philip Augar is to be congratulated on the review, which is the first since the early 1960s to consider both Further and Higher education (tertiary education) together. It provides the opportunity to consider the roles both should play in meeting the UK’s economic needs, and its recommendations for a shift of emphasis and funding from HE to FE is to be welcomed.
However, the SIP cautions against the report’s recommendation that “funding for Level 6 and above apprenticeships should be available only for apprentices who have not previously undertaken a publicly-supported degree.”
While the SIP recognises concerns in relation to degree apprenticeships and above (Level 6), in particular that some employers are rebadging existing schemes to claim funds, its members wish to counter this by setting out a clear case for maintaining the use of levy funding for Degree, Masters and PhD level apprenticeships where the individual already holds a degree (this will almost certainly be the case for those moving onto a Masters/ PhD level apprenticeship as part of their progression):
SIP Chair and GSK Director Dr Malcolm Skingle said: “We recognise that this review has concluded the current reforms to the apprenticeship system are still in progress. However, the panel have made clear recommendations which we acknowledge will feed into any review of the apprenticeship levy and so they have an important role to play.
“We understand the Panel’s concern that levy funding is being used to rebadge some training. However, as the report itself states tertiary education needs to be forward looking. The future challenges of technological innovation and artificial intelligence mean that we need to see people moving on to these important standards and the withdrawal of funding where an individual holds a degree would seriously undermine this development.
“The importance of moving between Further and Higher Education is also a key consideration in post-18 funding. At GSK we have a number of examples of this, most recently one of our highly talented apprentices, Hajra Bibi has received a place the University of Oxford to undertake an MSc in Integrated Immunology. This is a one-year, full-time course for which GSK will fund her Hajra’s student fees. We are very proud of her commitment to developing her subject matter expertise.”
“We therefore urge Government not to take any decisions that would threaten high level skills development in demonstrably needed occupations.”