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Apprentices not 'second-tier students'

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Many apprentices choose to take an apprenticeship despite being accepted to university, according to EY student recruitment officer Liz Noble.

Noble was speaking at a RateMyApprenticeship (RMA) panel debate on apprenticeship myths in London. She added that the academic results required to attain a place on many apprenticeships (300 UCAS points) is equivalent to those needed for a university place.

"So there's definitely no sense that people who take the apprenticeships only do so because they didn't have the grades to get into university," she said. "A lot of young people choose it because they want to take a different route and get into work early."

RMA co-founder Oliver Sidwell said that getting information about apprenticeships out through schools and colleges is a crucial element of giving young people choice in their higher education.

"That's the most important element going forward," he said. "A lot of people know what field they want to go into at 18 but think university is the only option. They're not second-tier students, they just need to know that there are other options available to them."

Melisa Samuels, a PMO application services apprentice at CapGemini, revealed both her parents and her teachers questioned her choice when she opted for an apprenticeship after being accepted to university.

"At first they thought I was mad but now they see the value in what I'm doing," she said. "I go back to my old school to give talks about apprenticeships as an option. I think it's important people go back and tell the students about what's out there."

Today, a record numbers of students were accepted into university as A-level results were revealed.