By Jonathan Davies

Students will be able to gain a full honours degree whilst embarking on an apprenticeship, under new plans backed by the government.

The Degree Apprenticeship will allow students to study without having to pay fees and earn an apprentice's wage.

Starting in September, the government will fund two-third of the costs, with employers paying for the remaining wages and training costs.

The scheme will launch in the digital and software industries to begin with, but the government said any company of any size will be eligible to take part.

150 places have already been secured on the programme with the companies involved with the early stages.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said the aim is "to ensure that education and training routes are providing the skills which employers need now and in the future".

Employers such as BT, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HM Revenue and Customs, Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group and Network Rail have already signed up to the scheme.

And universities such as Aston, Exeter, Greenwich, Loughborough, Manchester Metropolitan, University College London, the University of the West of England and Winchester have signed up.

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