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Digital Apprenticeships Launched

Under a scheme backed by the government, young people will be able to gain a full honours degree whilst earning a wage and paying no fees.

The new Degree Apprenticeship qualifications will be taught in England from next September and will start in the digital and software fields.

The government says employers of any size will be able to take part in the scheme, and will pay two thirds of the costs and fees while employers pay trainees wages and other costs.

Around 150 places have already been guaranteed on the programme, in subject areas ranging from software design to information technology for business.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said the aim of the programme is to integrate academic learning at degree level and on the job practical training; to ensure that education and training routes are providing the skills, which employers need now and in the future.

Head teachers have welcomed the scheme, including Brian Lightman - general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders - who described it as "a really interesting development in the growing range of alternatives to traditional university courses".

Mr Lightman added: "There is massive demand for recruits to these industries who are highly skilled and knowledgeable."

The government hopes that if the scheme is successful in the digital industry, it may be able to branch out into other industries.

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