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Making higher education accessible and effective

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Apprenticeships, Attainment gap

some people sitting on steps. only their legs and feet are in shot.

Today's Education in the Media blog focuses on the Education Secretary's letter on university access and positive new data on apprenticeships

Access and Participation

Yesterday, Thursday 26 September, we published new statistics that show, based on current participation rates, the likelihood a young person will participate in higher education by age 30 is 50.2 per cent in 2017-18. This is up from 49.9 per cent the previous year. There has been coverage on this from The Times, The Telegraph, I News, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Express, BBC Online and The Independent.

Following the statistics release, the Secretary of State has written an open letter to Universities UK reiterating calls to improve access and participation.
While the number of people from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university has risen, new data from the Office for Students shows that mainstream state school pupils from the most advantaged areas are still 2.4 times more likely to go into higher education than those from the most disadvantaged areas.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

It is not good enough that white working-class boys are far less likely to go to university and black students are far less likely to complete their courses than others. We cannot let this wasted potential go unchecked any longer.

I am pleased to see the work that some universities are doing. It was a privilege to address vice-chancellors on this important issue at the recent UUK conference, but disparity remains a problem.

I want all universities, including the most selective, to do everything they can to help disadvantaged students access a world-class education, but they also need to keep them there and limit the numbers dropping out of courses. My message is clear – up your game and get on with it.



On Wednesday 18 September, new figures were published which show that the Department for Education has surpassed the government’s public sector apprenticeship target for the second year running.

The Department for Education has recruited 354 apprentices of all ages since April 2017. The department offers a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities in exciting areas, like cyber security, digital marketing, project delivery and software development at all levels right up to degree.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

It is fantastic news that we have exceeded our target for two years in a row – making us one of the top recruiters of apprentices across government.

There are some brilliant apprenticeship opportunities within the department as well as across the public sector. Our apprentices are working in a range of exciting roles from cyber security, public relations and accountancy.

Apprenticeships are a great way to earn while you learn and kick start a rewarding career in the public sector. So, if you are thinking about your next move take a look at what is on offer and start your apprenticeship journey today.

To find out more about apprenticeships and how to get involved, visit here.

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