Most parents think apprentices are 'left making tea'

National Apprenticeship Week: Majority of parents remain unconvinced on the value of apprenticeships, Mumsnet poll shows

Kate Parker

FE white paper: 'We need it to be revolutionary more than ever'

Three in five parents are concerned their child would be “left making the tea” in an apprenticeship, according to a new survey.

In the survey, conducted by Mumsnet and published by the Department for Education today, 35 per cent of parents said that they still associated apprenticeships with manual jobs, like plumbing and carpentry, and 45 per cent were unaware they go right up to degree level.

Today marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week, which will see the DfE, colleges, providers and employers celebrate the apprenticeship sector and encourage young people to consider the route.

Opinion: Why is there still a stigma around apprenticeships?

Revealed: The top 100 apprenticeship employers

News: Where apprenticeships are growing – and shrinking

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has urged parents to move on from outdated stereotypes when giving their children advice about their future career paths.

He said: “Every parent wants the best for their children and when they ask you for advice about their futures, it’s incredibly daunting. But I know that when I’m asked for help by my children, I will absolutely encourage them to consider an apprenticeship.

“So as we celebrate the life-changing potential of apprenticeships, I would urge all parents to do the same and look beyond stereotypes and embrace every opportunity.”

Forty-eight per cent of parents surveyed said they were not worried about the future earning potential of their child should they choose an apprenticeship, but almost half (45 per cent) said they did not think apprenticeships were valued as highly as a university degree by the UK’s top employers.

National Apprenticeships Week

The City and Guilds Group has also released new research today, having polled 2,000 adults in England about apprenticeships. Some 57 per cent of respondents said that apprenticeships were good value for money, compared with just 5 per cent who believed universities were. In addition, 54 per cent of people believed that apprenticeships prepared young people for the workplace, while just 6 per cent believed university did. 

However, when asked whether they would consider apprenticeships as a route to develop their own workplace skills, more respondents said that they would be likely to go to university (50 per cent) rather than do an apprenticeship (30 per cent). 

Reform of the apprenticeship levy 

In a separate report, London First and the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) have raised concerns about the apprenticeship levy and are calling for it to be reformed to boost apprenticeship starts. 

Together they are calling on the government to: 

  1. "Enhance the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s (IfATE) position as an employer-driven ‘one-stop-shop’ for information and support. Review the current approach to increase direct interaction between business and the institute. Better support through the IfATE will enable businesses to engage with the system more effectively and with greater confidence in what they are doing. A single authoritative communicator of information will provide clarity."
  2. "Give businesses greater flexibility in how they use funds and transfer them to other businesses. Greater flexibility will allow businesses to support a broader range of training activities. Simplified rules and greater flexibility in how funds can be transferred to other businesses will ensure funds can be spent on training where it is most required for our wider economy."
  3. "Ensure that effective and robust quality assurance processes underpin the apprenticeship system. A focus on robust quality assurance will reassure businesses about the value they receive from engaging with the system and will help to enhance the system’s public reputation and brand."
  4. "Streamline processes so that all standards are approved within eight months and so that reviews are carried out quickly and regularly to keep standards up-to-date. Streamlined processes will improve the apprenticeship system’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to changing skills needs."

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateParkerTes

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