Labour will today announce plans to help businesses recruit and retain trained graduates, with new technical degrees backed by some of the UK’s biggest companies.
The party’s leader Ed Miliband will give a speech setting out the policy, which would see the new degrees developed in conjunction with businesses and universities, to meet the needs of the growing UK economy.
“I am clear that the priority for expansion of university places must be based on assessment of what Britain, our young people and our businesses need in the future when we will compete with the rest of the world on quality, innovation, science and skills,” Miliband is expected to say.
“This is a new direction for our country,” he will add at a summit organised by the Sutton Trust.
The speech is Labour’s latest attempt to win around British businesses, which has so far included pledges on corporation tax, devolution for UK cities and a plan to boost infrastructure.
The policy has already received backing from business leaders including BAM Nuttall and Google.
Tim Thomas, head of employment at manufacturing organisation EEF also welcomed the plans, adding: “While our industry needs graduates, it also needs more talented young people to see vocational-based training as an attractive alternative to academic study.” Businesses would have the opportunity to sponsor their apprentices to complete further qualifications, to keep them on at the company for the long term, Labour said.