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Taking action in higher education

Scrap failing loan system and properly support apprentices

13 December 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU today called on the government to axe its failed experiment to make people aged 24 and above pay to study for an apprenticeship.

Earlier this year the government introduced loans for people aged 24 and over who wished to study for a qualification equivalent to A-level and above, despite widespread opposition across the further education sector.

The government predicted 25,000 people would take out loans to fund an apprenticeship this academic year. However, figures reveal that just 404 people have taken out a loan and reports suggest the government is considering axing the flawed scheme.

UCU said the take up rate of just 1.6% against government predictions was a sign that the policy had failed and urged the government to provide proper financial support for older people who wished to retrain.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We take little pleasure in saying we told you so, but it is something we seem to be doing a fair bit with this government. Forcing older people to take out huge loans to retrain was always going to be a barrier and the time has come for the government to scrap the scheme and provide proper financial support for people who wish to study for an apprenticeship.'