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Fifth of young people believe their background will negatively impact their career prospects

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Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not: a fifth of young people believe their career prospects will be negatively impacted by their background

 Twice as many young people think attitudes to their generation will impact their career prospects negatively rather than positively, reveals Apprentice Nation, supported by BT

Young people call on government, schools and colleges and employers to improve work opportunities for young people from underrepresented backgrounds

This National Apprenticeship Week, Apprentice Nation urges UK businesses to look to apprenticeship schemes to address diversity and inclusion issues and spread the nation’s young talent equally

Interactive ‘Into the Booth’ sessions kick off this Wednesday, 10th February, with Apprentice Nation and BT Work Ready’s ‘Demystifying Apprenticeships’ webinar

8th February 2021: Apprentice Nation, supported by BT, the skills-based platform for 16-24-year olds, reveals that one in five young people (19 per cent) from low socio-economic backgrounds believe factors in their own life – such as where they live, where they went to school, and their mental health and wellbeing – will negatively impact their future career path.

Apprentice Nation, supported by BT, and produced by RockCorps and Multiverse, is on a mission to break down barriers and diversify the workplace by raising awareness of apprenticeships amongst a variety of socio-economic and under-represented backgrounds.

The research, which is released during National Apprenticeship Week (8 – 12 February), surveyed 500 16-24-year olds from low socio-economic households. Findings are released as the platform invites young people to register to its free ‘Into the Booth’ series, kicking off this Wednesday, with the Apprentice Nation and BT Work Ready ‘Demystifying Apprenticeships’ webinar.

The survey found a third (32 per cent) believe society’s attitudes to young people, like themselves, will negatively impact their future career prospects. And of those who highlighted that racial inequality or injustice would hold them back, eight in ten (81 per cent) were from black, Asian and ethnic minority households. This same group were also more likely to believe their school grades, connections, where they live and perceptions of them would have an unfavourable effect on work opportunities*.

Many young people believe that more should be done by the Government (51 per cent), schools and colleges (44 per cent) and employers and businesses (39 per cent) to improve career opportunities for young people from underrepresented backgrounds. However, the findings also highlight resilience and accountability in the face of adversity, with three in ten (31 per cent) seeing an opportunity for young people to change the course for this generation and beyond.

As more businesses across the UK realise that diversity and inclusion aren’t a nice-to-have but an essential to the modern workplace, of those respondents who believed employer diversity and inclusion programmes would have a positive impact on their future career, six in ten (58 per cent) identified as being from black, Asian and ethnic minority households.

Looking to the future, with mental health difficulties, school grades, and debt the most common reasons for young people choosing not to go to University, the higher education landscape may be shifting. University is now neck and neck with getting work experience as the best option to kickstart a career (41 per cent) according to the group. And, combining learning and earning, a third (34 per cent) say that apprenticeships are the best option, with a growing number (37 per cent) citing they’re more likely to consider an apprenticeship due to COVID-19 or have already undertaken one.

Attraction to apprenticeships include getting a foot on the career ladder (67 per cent), an opportunity to lead to a successful career (58 per cent) and a chance to gain new skills (52 per cent), ultimately helping young people fulfil their ambitions.

Preeti Kaur, 21 from London, Apprentice Nation participant and now an apprentice at Google, said: “There are so many misconceptions around apprenticeships, but taking part in Apprentice Nation sessions helped to highlight all the opportunities available to me and helped to bust a few myths at the same time. I knew uni wasn’t for me and I’m a much more confident person now; doing an apprenticeship has changed my life.”

Amrita Tar, 19 from West London, a network build apprentice at BT, said:

“Being an apprentice allowed me to kick start my career – helping me to overcome my social anxiety, gain life skills, grow my network, and complete my qualifications without any university debt. I am a real advocate for diversity and inclusion within the workplace. Any job is for anyone, no matter what gender or where you are from.”

Half of all Apprentice Nation participants are from ethnic minority groups and a third have received free school meals. The careers platform uses music to inspire and engage with young people, with a special focus on those from underrepresented communities to feel confident, get career ready and build core skills for work and life through gamified learning opportunities.

Stephen Greene CBE, Founder of RockCorps and Producer of Apprentice Nation, said:

 “We are all getting hammered by COVID 19 – but particularly young people and especially those from under stress communities. We’re proud to be pioneering new and exciting ways of reaching out to young people across the country, no matter their background or living circumstances. We know that apprenticeships are an incredible opportunity for businesses to address the diversity and inclusion issues facing them right now. Our supporters, BT, are escalating their apprenticeships offer this year and continuing to deliver accessible skills training to the nation. By working together, we can make sure that access happens for all. We are proud to work in partnership with Multiverse who recruit and train apprentices to help boost individuals from the UK’s most deprived communities and who are ready to take part in Britain’s recovery.”

BT Group, one of the UK’s largest private sector apprenticeships employers, with over 4,000 colleagues on the programme, has supported Apprentice Nation since 2019. According to the business, more than a quarter of BT Group apprentices come from low socio-economic backgrounds. Last month, the company announced plans to recruit more than 400 apprentices and graduates for its September 2021 intake.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer brands, said:

“For more than 60 years, BT has used apprenticeships as a platform to hire, develop and retain great people. As one of the UK’s biggest employers of apprentices, we recognise the power of these programmes – not only for the skills development of young people, but for our own business too. We’re proud to say many stay and continue to progress their career with us. Working with organisations like Apprentice Nation means we can help get even more young people from a broader range of backgrounds excited about the opportunities apprenticeships can create, bringing fresh ideas and a new perspective.”

This week, Apprentice Nation will launch its 2021 programme – starting with a series of ‘Into the Booth’ sessions. Kicking off this Wednesday, 10th February, at 19:00, Apprentice Nation and BT Work Ready will host the ‘Demystifying Apprenticeships’ webinar, led by TV and radio presenter Remel London. Participants can have questions answered by industry experts and current apprentices from both BT & Multiverse, providing insight into apprenticeships in different industries across the UK. 

For more information on Apprentice Nation’s National Apprentice Week events, or to join the award-winning 6-week programme during the Spring visit

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