Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Putting the Earn into Learn; Labour's Big Vote Winning Plan Is to Cut University Tuition Fees. but How Much Impact Would This Actually Have? Political Editor Jonathan Walker Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Putting the Earn into Learn; Labour's Big Vote Winning Plan Is to Cut University Tuition Fees. but How Much Impact Would This Actually Have? Political Editor Jonathan Walker Reports

Article excerpt

LABOUR'S high-prole plan to cut tuition fees may prove a winner with younger voters. But the party is quietly planning a more radical change to the way society prepares young people for a successful career - by making it easier for them to avoid fees entirely.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has announced that he would cut student tuition fees from PS9,000 a year to PS6,000, if he becomes Prime Minister.

Critics point out that the cut only helps graduates on pretty good incomes (around PS31,000, although the precise gure varies according to who's doing the maths). But Labour's private polling suggests it is hugely popular among students and young people in general.

However, senior Labour gures such as Shadow Universities Minister Liam Byrne and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna believe bigger changes are needed in the longer term.

ey want to see less focus on the current system, in which students run up debts on the basis that they will pay the money back when they graduate, and a shift towards courses which allow young people to learn while working.

In other words, students would not only avoid fees but actually earn a salary while studying - making them tens of thousands of pounds better o'. is isn't about crude schemes in which the apprentice works four days a week and spends one day at college. It's about employers helping to create vocational qualications in which learning on-site and, if appropriate, in a more traditional academic setting are seamlessly integrated. It's worth remembering that "vocational" training today may be no less academically challenging than a traditional academic course. Students will be learning the complex skills required to succeed in a career in computing, nancial services or modern high-tech manufacturing, for example.

And for most young people who hope to end up with a PS40,000 job, this is a much safer bet than studying history or philosophy. So it's not Turn to Page 18 From Page 17 a second-class option.

Labour is not alone in developing "earn while you learn" proposals.

The Government has drafted in Sir Charlie Mayfield, chair of the John Lewis Partnership, to try to help it find ways of improving skills.

He's chair of the UK Commission on Employment and Skills, which recently published a plan designed to help young people get high-paying jobs.

The proposals were backed by the CBI and TUC, so employers and the unions are both on board.

And the commission is a firm supporter of the "earn while you learn" idea.

Also involved is a group of politicians calling themselves the All Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth, including Lord Wrigglesworth, a Liberal Democrat peer from the North East.

Ian Wrigglesworth, as he was known before his peerage, is a former Member of Parliament for Stockton South and former chairman of Port of Tyne, and was chairman of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.