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Businesses need to do more to raise the profile of apprenticeships

Interserve-MIFM_Dec13New research published by Interserve has revealed there is a significant lack of awareness regarding apprenticeships, which still lag behind academic-based career paths.

The report ‘The Interserve Society Report: Apprenticeships: the path to success?’ investigated the current perceptions of apprenticeships amongst three key groups – young people, their parents and many UK employers.

The study showed that only seven per cent of the young people polled plan to do an apprenticeship, with 72 per cent planning on going to university or college. Only 27 per cent of the parents surveyed think that an apprenticeship would be most useful for their children in pursuing a future career, versus 42 per cent who believe a university degree is the best option.

The survey also indicated a significant lack of awareness among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the different types of apprenticeship schemes available, with only 32 per cent saying they had heard of a Higher or Degree level apprenticeship. However, approximately half (46 per cent) of large companies had heard of these types of apprenticeship.

According to Interserve, the study’s findings suggest that there is much to do in building awareness of the options available to help more young people find career opportunities through apprenticeships.

Additionally, the research pointed to a significant North-South divide in the attitudes of young people and employers towards apprenticeships, with both groups in the South favouring a university degree over work-based learning, compared to those in the North who view apprenticeships more positively.

Adrian Ringrose, Interserve’s chief executive, commented:

“This report provides a snapshot of attitudes and perceptions towards apprenticeships among young people, parents and employers at a time when the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy has firmly pushed the topic onto the business agenda. However, as the report shows, much more needs to be done to change perceptions and raise awareness of apprenticeship schemes.

“It is evident that apprenticeships suffer from an image problem and lack the prestige assigned to university education. Business, government and educators must all work together to better inform parents and young people about apprenticeships, in order to ensure that these schemes can become a driving force for skills and sustainable careers.”

The nationally representative survey of more than 5,000 people and over 500 businesses undertaken by YouGov, was commissioned by Interserve, to assess how well apprenticeships are currently understood and what challenges there might be to their wider adoption.

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