Apprenticeship as a Route to Higher Education: Apprentices' and Employers' Views
In 2004 a study was conducted by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University into barriers faced by Advanced (Modern) Apprentices in progressing to higher education. The research was conducted in Colleges in Northern England using interviews with apprentices. A second stage of the research involved interviewing employers about their perspectives of supporting apprentice progression to higher education. The research is part of a larger "Building Pathways" project concerning the Widening Participation agenda, part of the remit of which is to define, clarify and articulate pathways to progression in higher education for students on vocational post-compulsory courses. This article explores the recent government policy to widen participation in higher education through an analysis of recent literature and policy documents such as the White Papers 'The Future of Higher Education' and '21st Century Skills'. The interview data is explored within the context of widening participation and the barriers to progression. Initial findings show that expectations, employer support, financial support and time are all crucial for apprentices seeking to progress.
Keywords: Apprenticeship, Work Based Learning, Vocational Education, Further and Higher Education, Widening Participation
Research Associate, Centre for Research and Evaluation, Sheffield Hallam University