The system by which young people apply to university will be changed to include apprenticeships, alongside degrees, the government has announced.
The education secretary, Gillian Keegan - who became an apprentice herself at a Liverpool factory when she was 16 - told ITV news that she wanted students to realise that university wasn’t the only career path.
The government claimed that half of UCAS applicants would consider apprenticeships - but a lack of vacancies make it difficult to meet that demand.
The changes will start this autumn, with UCAS changed to include more personalised options, with applying for apprenticeships alongside an undergraduate degree available from next year.
The plans represent the latest attempt to raise the status of technical and vocational education to place it on an equal footing with traditional academic routes.
Ms Keegan told ITV news that her time as an apprentice at Delco electronics - a subsidiary of GM motors - in Kirkby, Merseyside, in the 1980s set her up for a successful career in business.
“My apprenticeship was my golden ticket. It gave me a unique insight into how a business operated, from the shop floor to the boardroom," she said.
"Whatever career goals you aspire to, they can be achieved through an apprenticeship which go up to masters degree level.”
Clare Marchant, Chief Executive of UCAS, argued that presenting students with all their choices in one place would help give parity in status terms.
However, attempts to close the gap between academic and more vocational subjects have struggled in the past.
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