Concerns that young people are not being given enough information about apprenticeships and vocational training have been getting louder in recent weeks.
Last month, Ofsted reported that three-quarters of schools were not implementing their duty to provide impartial careers advice effectively .
Just last week, Graham Stuart, the Conservative chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, hit out at the Department for Education for spending just 0.008 per cent of its budget on careers guidance. “That figure should shame the DfE into action,” he wrote.
Today, polling commissioned exclusively for TES casts more light on this frequently-ignored aspect of schools’ provision. According to the Barclays LifeSkills Youth Barometer, just a quarter (26.1 per cent) of young people aged 14-25 said they received information about apprenticeships in their career lessons at school.
The survey of 2,000 young people also found that more than one in 10 (11.8 per cent) respondents received no career guidance at all. While 65.2 per cent were told about going to university and 61.7 per cent received information about taking A-levels, a significantly smaller number found our about non-academic routes into work. Less than a fifth (16.5 per cent) were taught about NVQs and other vocational qualifications, with just 8.8 per cent receiving information about becoming an entrepreneur.
Kirstie Mackey, head of LifeSkills for Barclays, said careers advice was a “really crucial” part of education, and expressed concerns about the limited information on offer in many schools.
“While some young people will thrive through purely academic routes, others will fare better in vocational routes like apprenticeships,” she said. “We see this first hand at Barclays, where we run both award-winning graduate and apprenticeship schemes side by side. The most important thing for any pupil is to know that they have options open to them whenever they leave full-time education.”
There was some good news for the FE sector, however: more than half of the respondents (52.3 per cent) said they thought apprenticeships were the qualifications most likely to lead to a job. In comparison, just 28.5 per cent plumped for A-levels.