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Just 77 applications for new apprenticeship scheme expected to attract 25,000

27 September 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Just 77 people have applied for a loan to fund an apprenticeship, despite government expectations of around 25,000 people.

UCU said the 'worryingly low' figure demonstrated that a new system of charging people over 24 to study an apprenticeship had failed. From this year, apprentices over 24 must take out a loan, usually around £4,000, to pay for their course.

Last summer a government study warned that just one in 10 people aged 24 and over would definitely undertake a further education course at college if the new loans system were introduced.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Even we are shocked at the worryingly low number of people prepared to take out loans to study an apprenticeship. We warned the government a policy of charging older learners would put many off and even their own study echoed our concerns.

'At a time of high unemployment ministers should making it easier for people to retrain, not devising measures that price them out.'