From education to employment

Apprenticeships still seen as the Cinderella option for young people

New research conducted by Populus on behalf of The 5% Club reveals that the majority of parents want more alternatives to university for their children, such as apprenticeships, with 80% stating there are not enough options, while 77% agree that apprenticeships are given a much lower profile in society than university education.

Launched ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, taking place this week from the 5th – 9th March, the research was done as part of The 5% Club’s campaign to raise awareness and encourage parents to find out more about apprenticeships, with the belief that they play a critical role in generating UK talent.

The research was undertaken before the Prime Minister’s recent speech, in which she too highlighted the outdated attitudes towards further education, saying there remains a perception that going to university is really the only desirable route, while going into training is something for other people’s children. If we are going to succeed in building a fairer society and a stronger economy, we need to throw away this outdated attitude for good.”

The study also found that 85% of parents think it’s important that school leavers develop practical job skills alongside their academic skills and only 20% of them feel like they have enough knowledge to advise on apprenticeships. Furthermore, over half (57%) want to learn more and 54% feel that schools do not provide enough information.

Additionally, the research also revealed that gender stereotypes are still at play. More than half (54%) of parents believe that apprenticeships generally lead to jobs in male-dominated industries, resulting in girls less likely to apply. However, less than a quarter of parents (22%) actually believe apprenticeships are more suited to boys than girls. This shows that more needs to be done to show young women the wide range of apprenticeships available and the broad range of sectors they can work in. Initiatives such as the Year of Engineering are very welcome in tackling this gender stereotyping.

Feedback from The 5% Club’s members confirms that parents and schools often view apprenticeships as something second rate, or not as good a having a degree. This is why it is launching its 21st Century Winners campaign to challenge negative stereotypes of ‘earn and learn’ opportunities. The campaign will show that those who combine knowledge with practical skills will win the race of fulfilling and securing employment in the future and provide the vital skills so badly needed to grow our economy.

Leo Quinn, Founder of The 5% Club and Group CEO, Balfour Beatty says:

“As employers, it is imperative that we make young people aware of the powerful opportunities open to them via apprenticeships: opportunities that provide immediate entry into the world of work, a solid foundation for a successful career and the first step towards lifelong learning.”

Lady Cobham CBE, Director General of The 5% Club says:

“It is evident from this research that we need to do a lot more to help support parents to find out more about the fantastic opportunities apprenticeships provide. Clearly parents struggle to give broad career advice to their children yet recognise that practical job skills need to be developed alongside academic skills.” 

“Apprenticeships are available for a huge range of roles and at a wide range of levels, up to and including degree and Master’s degree level. Parents, and young people, need clear guidance and advice on what is out there.”

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