More parents in the UK want to see their child undertake an apprenticeship than a university degree, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week in England and Wales, which runs from 4th to 8th March 2019, the FMB undertook a survey of 2,000 adults and the findings were as follows:

  • 25% of us would rather our children undertook an apprenticeship;
  • 24% of us would rather our children studied for a university degree; and
  • 50% of us have no preference.

We also asked the same people how they felt about building firms that trained apprentices and found that:

  • 60% would have a more positive image of a construction firm knowing that it trains apprentices;
  • 41% would be more likely to hire a building firm that trains apprentices as opposed to one that does not.

We’re finally seeing the shift in attitudes with more people understanding the value of undertaking a vocational apprenticeship rather than a university degree.

For too long, apprenticeships were looked down on and seen as the alternative route if children weren’t bright enough to follow the more academic route.

With university fees in England going through the roof, and with apprenticeships offering an ‘earn-while-you-learn route to a meaningful job, it’s no wonder that the penny has finally dropped.

This research signals that the majority of children won’t be suffering undue pressure from their parents or teachers to attend university unless it really is right for them. Not everyone is academic and even for our very brightest students, on-the-job-learning can be an appealing way to prepare for the world of work.

Apprenticeships are a brilliant career path and there are plenty of exciting opportunities in sectors like construction – we’re crying out for more young people to join our ranks.

Now that we know that the general public is changing its attitude towards apprenticeships, the construction industry must step up and make more apprenticeship places available to young people.

Not only will firms be helping train the next generation, apprenticeships are also good for the bottom line. Our research shows that people like companies that train apprentices to the extent that more than 40 percent of clients would hire the building firm that trains apprentices as opposed to the one that doesn’t.

It therefore makes sense, on every level, for building companies to step up their apprenticeship training and not only that, make sure your clients know about it. Shout about it on your website and social media platforms or better still, introduce your apprentices to your clients. Because what’s clear is, apprenticeships are good for business.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB)

The FMB’s research into perceptions of apprenticeships was carried out by OnePoll, on behalf of the FMB, in February 2019. The research received 2,000 response from homeowners right across the UK. 


About the Federation of Master Builders (FMB): The largest trade association in the UK construction industry representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, the FMB is independent and non-profit making, lobbying for members’ interests at both the national and local level. The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members, providing a range of modern and relevant business building services to help them succeed.

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