Apprenticeships 'not for the brightest pupils'

Two in three secondary school teachers would not recommend apprenticeships to top students, reveals Sutton Trust survey

A growing number of young people are interested in starting apprenticeships rather than going to university the Sutton Trust says

Two-thirds of secondary school teachers would not recommend apprenticeships to pupils with good grades, a new survey reveals.

This is despite the results from the same survey, published today by the Sutton Trust, showing that a similar proportion (64 per cent) of 11- to 16-year-olds would prefer to undertake an apprenticeship rather than go to university if the option was available in their desired career.

The education charity shared the findings ahead of its Better Apprenticeships summit today. 

Apprentice earnings

The findings highlight a disconnect between young people’s interest in apprenticeships and the advice they are offered at school.

Pollster Ipsos MORI spoke to 2,381 11- to 16-year-olds in academies and maintained schools in England and Wales about their attitudes to apprenticeships. Separately the National Foundation for Educational Research spoke to more than 500 secondary schools teachers about apprenticeships.

Previous research by the Sutton Trust found that the best apprentices – those with a level 5 qualification or higher – will earn £50,000 more in their lifetime than someone with an undergraduate degree from a university outside of the Russell Group.

'Outstanding career prospects'

One in four of the young people surveyed said their teachers had never discussed the idea of apprenticeships with them. The proportion saying they had discussed apprenticeships with their teacher is improving, however – up from 31 per cent in 2014 to 41 per cent this year.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said the best apprenticeships offer young people outstanding career prospects and financial rewards.

He added: “So it is good to see that a growing proportion see them as offering genuine alternatives to A levels and degrees.

“However, we need to do much more to make sure teachers advise their students to opt for apprenticeships. This includes dispelling their view that apprenticeships are not of high quality and also giving teachers access to the information they need.”

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