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More pressure on employers and universities are key to end polarisation caused by poverty

20 October 2014

New report shows Britain is on the brink of becoming a permanently divided nation.

Commenting on today's Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission's report that Britain is on the brink of becoming a permanently divided nation, UCU echoed its findings that increasing the onus on employers to create apprenticeships and putting more pressure on universities to recruit the least advantaged, are key ways to tackle the polarisation caused by poverty. The union backs the commission's call for half of all larger workplaces to offer quality apprenticeships.

UCU has continuously called for more support such as tax credits, wage subsidies and grants through a levy system to encourage smaller and medium-sized workplaces to take on apprentices. UCU would like to see apprenticeships turned into high-quality, three-year programmes where trainees receive at least the national minimum wage and walk away with a certified professional title.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We agree with the commission that employers need a big push on apprenticeships. Widespread availability of high-quality apprenticeships, that result in a certified professional title, would make a real difference to the long-term prospects of thousands of young people who are currently falling into low-pay, dead-end jobs.
'It is tragic that ten times as many students from the most advantaged areas enter a top university compared to those from the most disadvantaged. While this is often caused by a train of events set off from a very early age, universities could and should play a far more effective role in combating that disadvantage.
'We have repeatedly named and shamed institutions offering unpaid internships and would very much like to see a line drawn under this pernicious practice that gives further advantage to those privileged young people who can rely on the bank of mum and dad well into their twenties.'

Last updated: 10 December 2015