Young people lacking support to undertake apprenticeships, CIPD finds

Research reveals half would have considered the qualification had their chosen subject been available

More than half of young people in the UK would have considered an apprenticeship at school had they been given the opportunity, a study has found.

The poll of 2,000 young people aged between 18 and 30, conducted by YouGov for the CIPD, found 52 per cent would have considered an apprenticeship had it been available in their chosen subject.

However, of those who received careers support from their school or college, just 1 per cent said they received the support they needed to choose an apprenticeship. In comparison, almost three in five (59 per cent) said their school had helped them with their university applications.

The research was part of the CIPD’s Youth Employment in the UK report, which found that while the majority of young people in the UK (79 per cent) were receiving careers guidance from their school, college or sixth form, just one in five (19 per cent) rated it as high quality.

The report also found that only a quarter (28 per cent) of young people believed their school or college spent enough time helping them to understand future career options, while a similar proportion (29 per cent) said they received specific careers guidance.

Additionally, only half (49 per cent) of young people benefitted from a face-to-face careers interview while at school, while 55 per cent said that the guidance they received was not effective.

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Just 1 per cent received help to understand the labour market, jobs and salaries, while a fifth (21 per cent) of those polled said they received no guidance at all.

Lizzie Crowley, senior skills adviser at the CIPD, said that young people needed to be made aware of the different options that are available to them in order to make an informed decision about their future.

“It’s key to our long-term productivity and competitiveness as recent skill and labour shortages have demonstrated.

“However, it’s not down to one stakeholder to achieve this: educators, policy makers and businesses all need to work together,” she said.

The report also polled recent graduates, finding that while two-thirds (66 per cent) viewed their qualifications as necessary to securing a job, just 41 per cent said their qualifications were actually needed to do their job effectively.

More than a quarter (29 per cent) of all young people surveyed said that they were overqualified for their current role, increasing to a third (33 per cent) when looking at those with a degree-level qualification.

Rates of overqualification were higher still for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds: 37 per cent of these respondents said they were overqualified for their current role.

A third (32 per cent) of graduates also said their career failed to meet their expectations.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO of City & Guilds, said that the report confirms that young people were being “sold a university dream on the promise of a career that increasingly isn’t there at the end”.

“This mismatch between what young people think they need to do to get a job and what employers are actually asking for has got to be solved,” Donnelly said. “We also need to shift mindsets and help young people and their parents and carers to understand that there are many routes through to a good job and that all are equally valuable.”

Stephen Isherwood, CEO of the Institute of Student Employers, agreed that the quality of careers education needed to be improved. “Students now have a wide range of routes through education and into work, yet too often they don’t get to understand their options.

“This means that students don’t make the most of their potential and employers don’t always get the talent they need,” he said.

The report also revealed discrepancies in the quality of careers education: almost half (47 per cent) of respondents from disadvantaged groups rated the quality of their careers education as low, compared with a third (35 per cent) of those in advantaged groups.

Jane Hickie, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) said that quality careers education can positively influence a young person’s schooling, but called for the government to step up its efforts.

“This timely report from CIPD shines a light on the importance of good quality careers information, advice and guidance throughout a young person’s schooling which offers parity of esteem for academic and vocational routes,” she said.