Staffordshire University today joined calls to introduce maintenance grants for students who take higher technical qualifications.
It comes as a new report has highlighted a worrying decline in people studying on-called ‘sub-degree’ level courses which help fill skills gaps in different industries.
Now higher education group MillionPlus is urging the Government to do more to support students and ‘turbocharge’ technical education.
The move would affect those on level four and five courses – such as higher national certificates, diplomas and foundation degrees – who may be splitting their time between the workplace and classroom.
Unless they are studying full-time, they can often find themselves shut off from financial aid like maintenance loans. There is also a popular misconception that many of these courses are just taken through colleges, rather than universities.
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, chairman of MillionPlus, said: “The new Government should commit to enabling greater diversity of workplace-focused provision and ensure it is flexible and accessible enough for students at any stage of their working life.”
Professor Ieuan Ellis, pro vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University, has backed the report’s findings. He highlighted the university’s recent £42 million investment in a new digital skills and apprenticeships hub.
He added: “Our focus on higher technical and vocational skills incorporates our degree apprenticeships, with 700 Staffordshire University students studying for degree apprenticeships including digital, engineering, policing and healthcare.”
The report recommends maintenance grants for all full-time and part-time students working towards level four and five qualifications, along with ‘adequate’ financial support for those doing A-level standard technical courses.
It also calls on the Government to support greater collaboration between universities and colleges.