From education to employment

Teachers admit poor knowledge of Apprenticeships

Barry Sheerman MP, co-chair of the Skills Commission

New research from Edge, the independent education foundation, suggests teachers are struggling to understand apprenticeships.

The survey of more than 1,000 teachers and lecturers in secondary schools, sixth form colleges and further education colleges, found 56 per cent of them rate their understanding of Apprenticeships as poor. This is compared to the eight per cent of teachers who say they have a poor knowledge of university degrees.

Only 24 per cent of teachers believed Apprenticeships to be a good alternative to A-Levels, or equivalent qualifications.

A survey of 1030 parents of 11 to 18 year olds throughout Great Britain showed they were much more likely to see Apprenticeships as a good alternative to A-Levels, with 43 per cent saying they supported this view. This particular figure will come as a surprise to teachers as only 17 per cent thought parents see Apprenticeships as a good A-level alternative.

Andy Powell, chief executive of Edge, said: “Teachers are one of the main sources of careers advice to young people so it is a real travesty that they don’t have a good knowledge of Apprenticeships, or the value placed on this form of learning by parents. The fact that teachers have admitted they have a good knowledge of University degrees highlights the deep-seated bias towards academic qualifications within our education system.

“We strongly believe that apprentices will play an integral role in helping the UK survive and thrive in the current economic climate. More than 100,000 Apprenticeships are completed every year. This figure could be much higher if teachers really understood the value and benefits of Apprenticeships.

“The Skills Commission report into Apprenticeships highlights that teachers need support to help young people recognise that there are many paths to success.”

Barry Sheerman MP, co-chair of the Skills Commission, commented: “The Government must ensure that knowledge of Apprenticeships is a critical part of initial teacher training and continuing professional development for teachers. The opportunities Apprenticeships offer to learners, and the skills required by employers of apprentices, should be communicated to all teachers as part of an ongoing campaign by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with the Training and Development Agency for schools.”

The Skills Commission’s report will be published on March 18, and will examine the progression routes of young people into apprenticeships. It will also look at ways to ensure more apprentices progress on to higher levels of learning.

Pictured: Barry Sheerman MP, co-chair of the Skills Commission


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