Press release: Students still not clear on value of degrees versus apprenticeships

Press release: Students still not clear on value of degrees versus apprenticeships

Friday, 9th of September

Press release: Students still not clear on value of degrees versus apprenticeships

Research from leading social business MyKindaFuture has revealed students are still not truly understanding the benefits of embarking on an apprenticeship versus an undergraduate route. However, Government is urging businesses to actively spend time on targeting and creating a talent pool of future apprentices in order to meet the 3m apprenticeship starts by 2020, target set by the Prime Minister.

The disconnect between the students' views and business needs means employers need to work closely with educators to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships to students.

The Government has published the draft legislation on the Apprenticeship Levy, aiming to use the £3bn raised to boost both the quality and quantity of apprenticeships to meet the skills gap faced by industry. 

The research amongst students, business and teachers, released to mark Apprenticeship Week 2016, shows, 46% of students would be put off applying for an apprenticeship because they wouldn’t have a degree on their CV. Additionally, nearly half of young people surveyed were holding off on applying for an apprenticeship because they say they will miss out on the university experience.

William Akerman, Managing Director, MyKindaFuture said;

"MyKindaFuture knows a lot of work still needs to be done with students, teachers and parents to 'educate' them about the range of options available to students post- school. With the 3m apprenticeships starts over the next five years target which has been set by Government, schools will no doubt be asked to get their students to apply for apprenticeship programmes, and our research shows that three quarters of students do look to their career advisors for guidance. 

MyKindaFuture is committed to working with more businesses to support their apprenticeship recruitment strategy and create a talent pool of future apprentices. We will also be working with schools and colleges across the UK to offer young people opportunities to connect directly with employers and find out the amazing opportunities apprenticeships can offer them.”

Tiana Locker, Youth Engagement Executive at the City & Guilds Group,added:

"It’s not surprising to see that young people are worried about not getting a degree, especially because a lot of jobs still require you to have one. I was nervous to do an apprenticeship at first too because it was seen as a dirty word at my school.

Everyone thought that apprenticeships were for people who weren’t clever enough for university. Yet I was accepted to my first choice uni and realised I’d rather jump straight into work. The bottom line is that apprenticeships aren’t right for everyone, but neither is university. That’s why it’s so important that employers talk to young people about all thedifferent ways to start a great career."

A need to educate students on the benefits of apprenticeships and encourage them to take this career route is clear as the research shows a third of businesses predict the number of apprentices they recruit will increase by 50%. There is an urgent requirement for employers to build relationships with educators, as nearly half of businesses need support in attracting and reaching students.

The research also highlighted the necessity for employers recruiting apprentices to be engaging with them online and through face–to-face activity. Two thirds of students would use Google to look for an apprenticeship and 75% would use their school careers department to find an apprenticeship. Similarly, 75% of teachers would direct their students to their education careers department and 66% to Google.

Interestingly, whilst students are social media savvy, only 14% would use Facebook and 10% use LinkedIn to find an apprenticeship.

The need for employers to correctly attract talent and help raise the profile of apprenticeships is underlined by 100% of teachers seeing the benefits of doing an apprenticeship, and over half of students understanding an apprenticeship will involve gaining skills whilst working.

Yet messages around the multiple benefits apprenticeships offer are still not fully reaching young people. This awareness and knowledge of apprenticeships needs to be supported and encouraged by business and educators working together in order to successfully match and create a strong talent pool.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Managing Director of City & Guilds,said:

"In our recent research, Great Expectations, we found that 69% of 14 – 19 year olds in the UK intended to go to university, despite only 30% of jobs predicted to be graduate roles when they leave education. With the average degree now costing £44k, this is a significant gamble, particularly when they could access the same career via an apprenticeship in many cases.

‘The problem is apprenticeships are poorly viewed by young people and the parents and teachers who often give them advice about their futures. The Government will need to overcome this bias if they are to achieve their target of 3m apprenticeships by 2020. Good independent careers advice and better links between employers and schools will be vital in overcoming this issue over the coming years."

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