Apprenticeships make the grade - CMI

Posted On: 
15th August 2019

Nearly 3 in 5 parents say apprenticeships are better than universities, awareness of degree apprenticeships is rising year-on-year and poor careers advice may be limiting young people’s choices, writes CMI.

As young people across the country receive their A-level results, a survey of parents commissioned by CMI shows that nearly three fifths of parents (59%) think an apprenticeship provides a better chance of getting a good job than going to university.  51% of parents agree they would now encourage their child to apply for an apprenticeship over applying to university, whilst less than a quarter (23%) would disapprove of their child applying for an apprenticeship.

This may be driven by increasing awareness of degree apprenticeships. Since 2016 there has been a 30 percentage point increase in parents who have heard of degree apprenticeships: from 13% in 2016 to 43% in 2019. 81% of parents say degree apprenticeships are a good option for young people who are considering studying for a degree, and around three quarters think they provide a better chance of getting a good job than a traditional university degree (72%) and are better value for money (73%).

Despite the upbeat views of parents, there are still barriers which prevent or deter young people from taking up apprenticeships. Our survey shows that most parents (58%) still think apprenticeships are for manual jobs, even though three quarters (75%) would like to see more apprenticeships for professional roles like management. Parents are also concerned about the quality of careers advice, with only 53% saying that schools and colleges provide good careers information, advice and guidance. Over half (54%) think that schools and colleges provide young people with a more favourable view about going to university than taking up an apprenticeship, and around a third (36%) think their child’s school or college only promotes apprenticeships to less academic children.

Rob Wall, Head of Policy at CMI said:

“At CMI we know that parents have a huge influence on young people’s education and career choices. The fact that well over half of parents now see apprenticeships as a good route to a great job should give confidence to all those receiving their A-level results that there are real choices beyond the typical 3 year university route.

“Degree apprenticeships are a great innovation and can transform how people view technical and vocational education. They also widen participation and improve social mobility. The year on year increase in positive awareness of degree apprenticeships shows that we should capitalise on this innovation and encourage more employers to offer these great programmes. 

“Despite the positive results, our survey shows that more still needs to be done to change perceptions and raise awareness of apprenticeships. In particular, we need a better careers system to signpost the full range of options available and to end the snobbery that still exists in parts of the education system that apprenticeships are somehow a second-class option."