Apprenticeships remain firmly in universities’ shadow, finds study

Just 11% of young people surveyed by YouGov said they had been encouraged towards becoming an apprentice, as against 73% advised to enrol as an undergraduate

Barely one in 10 young people aged 15-18 are likely to be recommended taking an apprenticeship, according to a recent study.

Eleven per cent of the 1,060 respondents to YouGov’s online survey said they had been encouraged to consider the option.

By contrast, 73% said that their school or college had advocated going to university.

There is still much more work to be done in ensuring school leavers are fully aware of the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship

The study – commissioned by training provider, JTL, ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (February 3-9) – comes two years after the introduction of the Baker clause, intended to ensure that school leavers are aware of all the options available to them:

“From January 2, 2018 all local authority-maintained schools and academies must give education and training providers the opportunity to talk to pupils in years 8 to 13 about approved technical qualifications and apprenticeships,” said the Department for Education.

Despite this, and underlining a distinct gender divide, YouGov found that only 5% of females surveyed felt they had been encouraged to take up a skilled trade, compared to 14% of males.


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“These results are disappointing,” said Jon Graham, chief executive of JTL.

“[They] show there is still much more work to be done in ensuring school leavers are fully aware of the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship and in helping their parents or guardians feel confident and empowered in choosing this route.

“The UK is experiencing a skills shortage, especially within the building services engineering sector, so apprenticeships offer a fantastic opportunity for school leavers to embark on a career in a highly skilled and well-paid job.

“We really want to challenge people’s understanding of what an apprenticeship involves and, importantly, what it can lead to, so that all school leavers are fully informed. We also want to encourage more female and BAME learners, who are massively underrepresented within the trades, to consider an apprenticeship as an option.”

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