Parents think a plumbing qualification will give their children a better chance of finding a job than a law or science degree, according to new research.
A poll of more than 3,500 parents, commissioned by City & Guilds and the Edge Foundation, shows more than half of respondents (57 per cent) rate young people with plumbing qualifications as "very employable".
This compares to 53 per cent for young people with a law degree, 52 per cent for a science degree, 22 per cent for an English degree and just 8 per cent for a history degree.
Other vocational qualifications rated highly by parents for employability in the current job market include IT (51 per cent), accountancy (44 per cent), automotive engineering (44 per cent) and construction (43 per cent).
But despite the apparent support for practical and vocational learning, just 16 per cent of parents surveyed hope their child will complete an apprenticeship.
Jan Hodges, chief executive of the Edge Foundation, which champions vocational education, said it was encouraging to see parents making the connection between high-quality vocational training and finding work.
However, she added: “Parents know far more about academic qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels, so it is not surprising that these are the ones they hope their children will achieve.
“This is despite the fact that parents are well aware that practical skills are often the key to getting a job.
“There is a disconnect between what parents know about employability and what they feel is the best for their children in terms of academic achievement.”
Chris Jones, chief executive of the City & Guilds Group, said parents have the most influence on young people but don’t know enough about the career options available.
“Young people need the opportunity to explore their options and discover exactly what route is right for them – whether it’s an apprenticeship, going straight into employment or pursuing a degree.”
The information was published today ahead of The Skills Show. The three day event, starting on Thursday at the NEC in Birmingham, is the nation’s largest skills and careers event, attracting more than 75,000 people.
It is the latest release from a YouGov survey of more than 3,500 parents in September.
Results from a different section of the survey, released last month, revealed parents feel the education system is not preparing children for work.
Also last month, a separate survey of 1,000 parents by the Edge Foundation found a growing knowledge of vocational and practical routes.
Education system is not preparing children for work, say parents – October 2014
Parents showing greater knowledge of vocational routes, survey finds – October 2014