Plant & Works Engineering

Image of apprenticeships in UK improves among parents

Published:  13 January, 2014

Forty six per cent of British parents of children aged 11-18 surveyed in a new report would encourage their offspring to take an apprenticeship. But more than one in 10 still maintain that apprenticeships are a second best route to a career after a degree, according to YouGov research.

Almost a third of those surveyed stated that they see apprenticeships as a viable option for their children, admitting that five years ago it was not something they would have ever considered.

The study of over 2000 parents commissioned by BAE Systems and the Royal Academy of Engineering shows a positive shift in

attitudes towards apprenticeships. 

In particular, 42% said their perception of apprenticeships had changed positively in the last year, while over two thirds were pleased that apprenticeships are now presented as an attractive option for young people.

Sir John Parker, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering said: "If the UK's industrial strategy is to be successful in its delivery, we will need a much bigger push for apprenticeships and other vocational pathways to engineering careers, so I am delighted to see that perceptions are changing for the better.

"Apprenticeships will not only play an important role in helping to meet the increasing demand for engineers and technicians, but I know from first-hand experience that apprenticeships give young people a brilliant start to their engineering careers."

Almost half of the parents interviewed agreed that an apprenticeship is the smart way to get an education leading to a good job and over a quarter concurred that an apprenticeship is more useful than a university degree in view of the on-the-job training provided.

A common concern, shared by almost half of parents surveyed is the amount of student debt that young people can accrue (up to £43,500) but they also acknowledged it doesn't put them off persuading their children to go to university.

Although positive news for apprenticeships, some old prejudices still remain, particularly among a small percentage of higher-earning households that see apprenticeships as good options but not suitable for their children.

Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock MP, said: "These figures are encouraging to see. I want choosing to go to university or beginning an apprenticeship to become the new norm for young people, and I'm pleased to see that attitudes are changing. There is still work to do though and we have recently carried out an extensive review of apprenticeships in the UK. I am looking forward to delivering a reformed system that works even better for employers as well as learners."