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Over half of students are interested in applying for an apprenticeship – but do they know how?

The popularity of #apprenticeships is on the rise, with more than a half of students set to move into higher education in 2022 expressing an interest in training as an apprentice – but are they getting access to the information they need?  

According to research from UCAS, the answer is no, with only 6% of students surveyed saying they found it ‘very easy’ to access information about apprenticeships, and one-third of students claiming that they received no information about apprenticeships at all from their school or college. Compare this to the data about attending university – with three-quarters finding it easy to access information, and it’s clear that there is a way to go in educating students about apprenticeships.  

Further research from UCAS’ ‘Where next? Improving the journey to becoming an apprentice’ survey found that only 57% of students think that training as an apprentice will help you to get a job, compared to 87% who think the same about a university degree. Further to this, a mere 8% of students associate doing an apprenticeship with getting a good job, while 54% consider a university degree as essential if they want to find a well-paid job.  

However, it is clear to anyone working in the apprenticeship sphere that these stereotypes hold no truth, with Futures CEO Paul Price-Hazlehurst commenting that

“apprenticeships provide an array of benefits for both the individual and the employer. Apprenticeships empower learners to build skills and secure employment that will support long-term career development.” 

The lack of information surrounding apprenticeships is having a significant impact on student’s lives, with 40% saying that if they had had proper access to information and advice at school, they would have made better choices about their futures. Around a third of students say that, had they been given more information about alternative options to university, they would have chosen a different path when it came to their post-16 choices.

 Futures’ Head of Apprenticeships, Sarah Clifford, expressed that

 “much further engagement is needed to teach the full understanding of apprenticeships.”  

But it’s not just a lack of information that students are struggling against – there is also the issue of accuracy to contend with. For some time, apprenticeships have been steeped in stereotypes about who can access them, and not much has been done to dispel them. In fact, 30% of parents and carers had no knowledge when surveyed that degree apprenticeships, which allow apprentices to achieve a degree-level qualification, existed.  

Luckily, the tides are changing for apprenticeships. In 2020-2021, the number of higher and degree apprenticeship starts sat at 51,400, up from 39,300 in 2018-2019, and as time goes on, people are starting to realise that it’s not just students who are eligible for apprenticeships; in 2019-2020, 47% of apprenticeships started were by people aged 25 and over.  

“At Futures, we value apprenticeships at all levels as a hugely beneficial tool to develop talent. There are a wide range of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships available to support career development and provide a true ‘earn while you learn’ opportunity as an alternative to the traditional fulltime study at college or university.” – Paul Price-Hazlehurst, CEO.  

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