Rishi Sunak has today promised to create 100,000 high-skilled apprenticeships a year by scrapping “rip-off degrees” if he wins the General Election.

In response, Rosalind Gill, Head of Policy and Engagement at the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) said: “University is a significant investment with profound returns. Graduates drive knowledge economies, typically facing lower unemployment and higher wages. However, the Prime Minister’s plan, unveiled today of capping student numbers on ‘low-quality courses’ in England misses the mark. This policy uses past data to limit future opportunities. The new Government must instead strive to understand future needs to inform today’s higher education.”

Gill continued: “Such measures would unfairly target disadvantaged students and places with lower wages, stifling social mobility and entrepreneurship. Instead, the Government should leverage labour market data to help educational institutions prepare for future needs.”

Gill concluded: “We are facing a severe skills crisis in the UK, with four in five businesses facing recruitment issues. Whilst we are very supportive of a proposed, increased number of apprenticeships, this does not mean the Government needs to take further measures to restrict higher education. UK universities excel globally, not only in research but also in student completion rates, crucial for economic prosperity. We hope the new Government recognises this, and is prepared to make sensible decisions, for the future of work.”