More than half of young people would now consider taking an apprenticeship instead of going to university, according to a new survey that will provide a fillip for employers looking to attract fresh talent to maximise their return on the apprenticeship levy.
Construction firm Redrow, which polled 1,001 individuals between the ages of 18 and 21, found 54 per cent of respondents would now actively consider an apprenticeship.
Despite this, the survey also found young people felt they were receiving poor quality information about apprenticeship options. Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) said apprenticeships were not promoted in schools in the same way as other educational routes.
More generally, only 21 per cent of young adults said they received high quality careers advice at school, down from 27 per cent last year.
- Number of investigations into apprenticeship levy underpayment doubles in a year
- Government failing to ensure quality and financial sustainability of apprenticeships, watchdog warns
- Most levy funds are not being spent on new apprentices, figures suggest
Separately, City & Guilds Group and the Industry Skills Board have published a report today calling for ‘greater value’ to be attached to apprenticeships.
The report echoed the findings of Redrow’s survey, and said there was still a need for better promotion of apprenticeships in schools to ensure young people were aware of the full opportunities available to them.
It recommended greater engagement with employers to help them understand the role of employer providers and the benefits of having apprentices. It also said engagement was needed to understand why many employers are writing off their levy contributions.
“Apprenticeships should be seen as a career pathway option like any other – sustainable and relevant in the long-term,” said Kirstie Donnelly, group director at City & Guilds Group. “Everyone involved in delivering apprenticeships has a responsibility to ensure they provide the best outcomes for learners and that quality runs throughout the system.”
Karen Jones, HR director at Redrow, said the government needed to do more to ensure schools were promoting apprenticeships in the same way they talked about university options.
“The government must take a stricter stance on schools failing to make sure young people are aware of all the career options available to them,” she said. “Our industry still has more of a job to do in terms of communicating the benefits of apprenticeships, whether these are financial in terms of avoiding university debt or employability.”
The two reports arrived in the same week the government announced 12 new Institutes of Technology would be opened in England, offering young people vocational alternatives to university.
The new institutes will work alongside universities and employers and are backed by £170 million worth of funding. They include a facility in Durham that will focus on digital advanced manufacturing and will operate alongside Newcastle University and Nissan.
Prime minister Theresa May said the introduction of such technical alternatives would help provide more “flexible and diverse” career routes.
“These new institutes will help end outdated perceptions that going to university is the only desirable route and build a system which harnesses the talents of our young people,” she said.
Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, agreed that apprenticeships had not been promoted enough in schools. He said he hoped the introduction of vocational alternatives would change these attitudes. hello hello.
“Many [young people] don’t get the chance to learn about apprenticeships while still at school,” said Dawe. “The new Institutes of Technology offer an alternative route to those who feel more comfortable learning in a classroom rather than a work-based environment, which an apprenticeship offers.
“If the initial dozen are successful, there is no reason why they shouldn’t encourage more young people to pursue a technical education.”