A growing proportion of young people are interested in starting an apprenticeship rather than going to university, but teachers are still unlikely to advise their high-attaining students to take this route. This is according to new polling of teachers and young people published by the Sutton Trust today ahead of a major summit on apprenticeships. FE News reports.
2,381 11 – 16 year olds in academies and maintained schools in England and Wales were surveyed by Ipsos MORI about their attitudes to apprenticeships. Around two-thirds (64%) said they would be very or fairly interested in starting an apprenticeship available for a job they wanted to do instead of going to university, a rise of nine percentage points from 2014 when 55% of young people said they were interested in this route. A quarter (25%) of those polled this year said they were not very or not at all interested in starting an apprenticeship.
Separate polling of 1,246 teachers (of which 583 were secondary teachers) by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) found that just a fifth (21%) would advise a high performing student to opt for an apprenticeship, though this is up from 13% in 2014. Almost two-thirds (64%) of the 583 teachers surveyed said they would rarely or never advise students with good grades to take this route.
Of those unlikely to advise their students to start an apprenticeship, over a third (36%) said it was down to a lack of information about apprenticeships in general and in relation to the options available to their students. Just over a quarter (28%) thought their students had better career prospects at university, while 14% cited negative views about the quality of apprenticeships on offer.
Sir Peter Lampl, Founder of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said “The best apprenticeships offer young people outstanding career prospects and financial rewards. So it is good to see that a growing proportion see them as offering genuine alternatives to A-levels and degrees. However we need to do much more to make sure teachers advise their students to opt for apprenticeships. This includes dispelling their view that apprenticeships are not of high quality and also giving teachers access to the information they need.”
To harness apprenticeships as a driver of social mobility, the Sutton Trust is calling on the government to focus on creating better apprenticeships, accessible to all. The Institute for Apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy should have a widening access function to ensure access to advanced and higher apprenticeships for those from less advantaged backgrounds. There should be a stronger drive from the government to support and encourage young people to take them up.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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