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Possible graduate tax could boost apprenticeships

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Mooted plans to introduce a graduate tax as a way of helping to fund higher education could have the effect of increasing the value of apprenticeships.

City & Guilds, the awarding body for vocational qualifications, has argued that employers in the future may see greater worth in training schemes such as apprenticeships.

A graduate tax, if implemented, could push up graduate salaries by way of compensating for the additional tax charges they would face.

But diplomas and apprenticeships do not incur tuition fees and so stand outside the current review into higher education funding which is being carried out by Lord Browne.

Chris Jones, director general of City & Guilds, said: “I think employers will think carefully. The enlightened ones will always be thinking of the optimal mix of the skills going into their organisation. For many, graduates will be their preferred route. But hopefully this will drive more strategic thought about skills.

“With apprenticeships now available in non-traditional areas such as finance, the law and sales, that gives employers more choice and if the person enters the organisation earlier they are contributing more quickly. They have knowledge of the organisation as well as a technical ability – having those all-round employment skills that aren’t often on display at graduate intake.”