More than four out of 10 young people from Swindon will be going on to university or college in 10 years’ time, if a new plan of Swindon Borough Council’s comes to fruition.

The authority’s new strategy Swindon: Learning Town sets as one of its goals a 25 per cent increase in the number of young people taking a degree or equivalent by 2029 - that would see the proportion of the town’s youngsters going on to higher education rise from 36 per cent to 45 per cent, bringing the borough more in line with national figures.

Councillors on the growing the economy scrutiny committee, chaired by Coun Emma Faramarzi, will hear about the strategy at its meeting tonight.

They will also be told about the council’s skills and employment strategy, which is linked to the learning town plan.

It has two objectives: to increase the number of residents with a degree-level qualification and to increase the number of youngsters heading off to study for a degree. It also sets out to increase the number of young people taking up apprenticeships and traineeships.

It says: “A Local Enterprise Partnership-wide higher education strategy and implementation plan has been agreed, with a bid submitted to host an Institute of Technology. That will be an employer-led STEM-focussed provision, for 3,000 learners over three years, with 50 per cent apprenticeships.”

“There is new HE provision in place at Swindon College and New College - with higher and degree-level apprenticeships and degree courses including digital, health and care and engineering. Further courses are planned for 2019 and 2020.”

It says there will also be an increase in young people studying nursing at Oxford Brookes University binging the number to 82.

In terms of apprenticeships the report says in 2017-2018 academic year there was a 14 per cent drop in places being taken up in Swindon down to 1,580 - missing the borough council’s target of 2,220.

The drop is still less than the decrease nationally, which was 25 per cent, according to the report: “due to apprenticeship reforms and the levy”.

To increase uptake the council has come up with an apprenticeship quiz.

That asks 15 questions about apprenticeships, such as “where does most off the job training take place? “ and “are most apprenticeships in the construction industry?”.

The report says: “Eight schools and 325 individuals completed the quiz. The key things are awareness of occupational areas and higher and degree-level apprenticeships and the perception that a university degree leads to a higher salary.

“Sixty-five Swindon employers completed the awareness-raising quiz. More than 70 per cent say it made them rethink apprenticeships: few of them were aware of the pay structure, off the job training and incentives.”

The council has now recruited its first young apprenticeship advisor.

As well as the Institute of Technology, Swindon might also be one of the host towns for a new multi-campus university.

The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership is keen on setting up a college to serve the town with a working name at the moment is the University of Wessex.

The borough council’s bid to host the Institute of Technology is one of only 16 bids to be considered at the final stage by Whitehall.

If successful the £17 million institute would be hosted in buildings on the Swindon College North Star site.

It is anticipated that a decision will be made by the Department for Education sometime during the next month.

Local employers such as Nationwide, Catalent Pharma Solutions and Excalibur Communications have all supported the bid

The scheme is hosting an event at UTC Swindon on studying technology at the specialist school. The free event is on Saturday, between 10am and 1pm.