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Nicky Morgan vows to tackle 'snobbery' over apprenticeships

The Education Secretary has pledged to tackle "outdated snobbery" towards apprenticeships through the introduction of a new law requiring schools to allow access to apprentice providers and colleges.

Nicky Morgan said the Government wanted to "level the playing field" making sure young people were "aware of all the options open to them".

Under the plans to end the 'second class' perception of technical and professional education, schools would be required to give equal airtime to the non-academic routes pupils can take post-16, the Department for Education said.

Ministers have expressed concerns over a "two tiered system" of careers advice, with some schools unwilling to recommend apprenticeships or other technical and professional routes to any but the lowest-achieving pupils, the DfE added.

Ms Morgan said: "As part of our commitment to extend opportunity to all young people, we want to level the playing field - making sure they are aware of all the options open to them and are able to make the right choice for them.

"For many young people going to university will be the right choice, and we are committed to continuing to expand access to Higher Education, but for other young people the technical education provided by apprenticeships will suit them better.

"That's why I'm determined to tackle the minority of schools that perpetuate an outdated snobbery towards apprenticeships by requiring those schools to give young people the chance to hear about the fantastic opportunities apprenticeships and technical education offer."

The new legislation would require schools by law to collaborate with training providers, university technical colleges and colleges to make sure students were aware of all the paths open to them through apprenticeships, including Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.

The DfE said the Government would look to bring in the legislation "at the earliest opportunity", with more details to be set out in the careers strategy.

Apprenticeship providers and staff from colleges would visit schools as part of careers advice from early secondary school under the plans.

Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: "To make informed choices for the future, young people need high quality, impartial careers information about all post-16 education and training options, including apprenticeships and technical and professional education.

"We have long been calling for an improvement to the system and welcome the changes outlined. Colleges recognise the critical nature of good careers education and will be very keen to continue to work together with their local schools. This announcement will make that a reality."

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