Fewer than one in 10 apprentices found out about their apprenticeship programme through a teacher or a careers adviser, new research by the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) shows.
According to the study, which questioned 1,200 apprentices from the manufacturing and engineering sector, half of apprentices said that one of the reasons they had found out about their course this year was by using their own initiative, while 48 per cent said they had carried out online research.
Just 8 per cent of apprentices said a careers adviser had told them about their course, while 9 per cent said they had been informed by a teacher. Almost two-fifths (39 per cent) of apprentices said that the careers information, advice and guidance they received at school was "poor or very poor".
Meanwhile, only one fifth (20 per cent) of apprentices said that they were encouraged to undertake an apprenticeship in their school, and only 3 per cent of apprentices said that a careers advisor had been one of the most positive influences on their decision to take an apprenticeship.
'An uphill battle'
Ann Watson, chief executive of the Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance (Semta) Group, which runs the IAC, said: “As we finalise new standards for apprenticeships it is important that ministers listen to apprentices and prevent the collapse of an extremely successful system. We are already facing an uphill battle with poor careers advice in schools.
"We need to make apprenticeships more attractive not less to our young people and employers, particularly the small- and medium-sized enterprises, at a time when we need all the engineers we can get and the skills gap is growing – we need nearly two million more engineers and technical staff by 2025.”
Philippa Dressler-Pearson, IAC member and advanced technical engineering apprentice at Southco Manufacturing, Worcester, said: "There's a massive skills shortage of engineers and technical staff in the UK but you don't hear anything about this in schools. Teachers don't have enough information about apprenticeships, why they are important and what they offer."