Apprenticeships, Misconceptions, & Addressing The Skills ShortagePosted: 30th of June 2015 by
Despite the efforts of politicians and business-leaders to redress the balance, it seems that many parents and young people still hold misconceptions about apprenticeships. Statistics show that the majority of parents (63%) still don’t understand apprenticeships well enough to explain them to their children, and with many young people admitting that their parents play a major role in their post-school or college choices, it would appear that a lot of our young people may not be getting the best advice for their future. With 81% of parents surveyed by the Association of Accounting Technicians admitted that they didn’t realise that Higher Apprenticeships are on par with foundation degrees, and in some instances university degrees, it is clear that there exists a gap between perception and reality. This situation is not helped by the fact that many teachers are unaware of the scope of the modern apprenticeship system (many having themselves gone to university), which has led to a situation where a lot of people still think apprenticeships are for boys, under-achievers, and those wanting to work in the manufacturing industries!
However, the reality of apprenticeships is very different from the out-of-date notions. With over 250 types of apprenticeship on offer, in everything from accounting to wood-working, the scope on offer is much broader than you may imagine. And, as for the idea that apprenticeships are only for those ‘not good enough’ to go to university, the fact that you require A levels or equivalent to apply for a Higher Apprenticeship says otherwise.
Apprenticeships can be found in places such as MP’s offices and PR firms as well as in the more traditional areas of employment, so finding something relevant to your skills and career goals is entirely possible. While many parents still believe that university is the number-one dream choice for their children, when it comes to employment, the statistics demonstrate otherwise.
An apprenticeship can boost your lifetime earnings by more than £150,000, while more apprentices manage to find suitable work once qualified than those doing equivalent degree courses. Figures show that, from the class of 2012-13, only 4.5% of apprentices with a level 4 or higher vocational qualification were unemployed, a figure that is almost three times smaller than that for university graduates.
An apprenticeship isn’t a second-class option compared to university when it comes to finding work and gaining experience, it is just different. Indeed, there are many who believe that an apprenticeship is the better route, including many employers who see apprentices as more employable due to their relevant, on-the-job training and experience.
This is all without the mention of tuition fees, which leave many graduates crippled by debt, while the fierce competition among university leavers means many are unable to land a graduate-level job and start their repayments. By contrast, apprentices are paid while they learn, and many move straight from training into work.
With employers complaining of a shortage of relevant skills among the workforce, it seems that apprenticeships could help plug the gap and help reduce youth unemployment at the same time. However, to do this, it is clear that parents and educators need a better understanding of the modern vocational route into work.
Certainly there still exist some apprenticeships that don’t match up, but with a greater concentration on quality over quantity, and some real career advice for both young people and their parents, this can be addressed.
So, rather than write off apprenticeships as the lesser of the options for young people, perhaps it is time to give them their proper due, and see them for what they really are – a viable alternative to university education.
Click here to see the current apprenticeship opportunities listed on our site – you may be surprised!
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