Just 7% of young people want to start an apprenticeship, survey finds

15th June 2016 at 17:07
Poll assesses how well apprenticeships are understood by learners, parents and businesses

Just 7 per cent of young people want to take an apprenticeship, new research shows.

This compares with 72 per cent who are planning on going to university or college.

A survey of more than 5,000 people and 500 businesses, conducted by Interserve, revealed that only a quarter (27 per cent) of parents thought that an apprenticeship would be the most useful option for their children in pursuing a future career.

It also indicated that a significant lack of awareness exists among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) concerning apprenticeship programmes, with fewer than a third (32 per cent) saying they had heard of a higher or degree-level apprenticeship.

The survey identified a significant North-South divide in the attitudes towards apprenticeships. In London, only 2 per cent of young people were considering an apprenticeship as a future career step, compared with 8 per cent in the North of England or Scotland.

‘Image problem’

Adrian Ringrose, chief executive of Interserve , said "much more" needed to be done to change learners' and businesses' perceptions of apprenticeships.

“It is evident that apprenticeships suffer from an image problem and lack the prestige assigned to university education. Business, government and educators must all work together to better inform parents and young people about apprenticeships, in order to ensure that these schemes can become a driving force for skills and sustainable careers,” he said.

Grace Mehanna, talent and skills director at Business in the Community, a charity that helps businesses to tackle a wide range of issues affecting their communities, said: “With the apprenticeship levy coming into force next year, businesses have more opportunity than ever before to actively shape the skills agenda. Apprenticeships open up new routes into employment beyond graduate schemes, but it’s important for businesses to make sure that these routes are accessible and visible to young people from all backgrounds.

“Interserve’s findings show that there is still a long way to go to communicate the full value of apprenticeships to parents and young people. To build a strong and diverse talent pipeline, we would urge businesses to make this a central part of their recruitment strategy.”

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