The Budget, announced by the Chancellor George Osborne on the 19th March, acknowledged student issues but failed to answer how the Government will see through their promises, according to the National Union of Students (NUS).
The Government announced that it will investigate options to support increasing participation in postgraduate studies, but it is unclear how students will be attracted to start such programmes whilst the issue of postrgraduate funding remains unresolved. The NUS has urged the Government to consider the cost neutral funding model for postgraduate education it has formulated.
Support was expressed for the proposal to provide additional support to small businesses in order to create 100,000 new apprenticeship places. The NUS has warned that for these places to be meaningful action needs to be taken regarding apprentice’s wages, which can legally be as low as £2.68 per hour.
Toni Pearce, NUS President, said: “we would welcome any announcement supporting an increase in apprenticeships, but we need to ensure that these are genuine oppertunities. Our own research has shown that the measly apprentieship minimum wage could be a major deterrent for those who would otherwise consider taking one up”.