Labour: Choice for 'frustrated companies and workers'

The party says applicants are now two-and-a-half times more likely to get into Cambridge than on to the BAE apprenticeship scheme, and that young people have a greater chance of achieving a first-class degree than securing a spot on the Jaguar Land Rover scheme.

Young people today want a real choice of earn-while-you-learn routes to degree level professional and technical skills, the sorts of skills that unlock chances as an engineer, an accountant or a para-legal.

Today we have frustrated companies and we have frustrated workers.

We need a new way forward.

A path that's pro-company and pro-worker.

Today it's incredibly difficult to take an apprenticeship or college route to degree level professional and technical skills.

Just 2% of apprentices are given the chance to study to degree level each year. None of our competitors are making the same mistakes.

– Shadow business minister Liam Byrne

At City of Westminster College, Mr Byrne will say a Labour government would give employers more control over the standards and assessment criteria for training, and task combined local authorities and enterprise partnerships with drawing up the commissioning strategy for adult skills in their area.

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Byrne: Some apprenticeships more difficult than Oxford

Shadow business minister Liam Byrne is to say that it is almost three times more difficult to win a Rolls-Royce apprenticeship than a place at Oxford.