There are still stigmas attached to choosing an apprenticeship, compared to opting for A Levels and a university degree, according to a panel of education experts speaking at a recent UKFast apprenticeship event.
The claims come as the public spending watchdog says the government is ‘very unlikely’ to hit a 2020 target of 3 million new apprenticeship starts.
Jonathan Bowers, UKFast Enterprise MD said, “through our work with schools we see that they are still pushing university because that’s what they’re measured on, even though apprenticeships are a better option for many young people.”
During the event the panel uncovered a series of myths associated with apprenticeships which cause them to remain an undervalued educational option.
1) Apprenticeships are only available in manual industries
A common misconception is that apprenticeships are only offered in manual industries. The government websitelists all of the UK’s hundreds of apprenticeship schemes, which cover a vast range of subject areas including IT, retail, public relations, business management and legal practices.
2) Apprenticeships are an option for those who perform worse academically
Apprenticeships are often pigeon-holed as an option for those students achieving lower grades at GCSE, who aren’t academically capable enough to achieve offers from university.
3) Apprentices won’t earn enough to live on
Something else a university degree doesn’t offer is the opportunity to earn while you learn. The hands-on approach means apprentices are paid alongside their experience in the classroom.
4) You can only start an apprenticeship at 16
Apprenticeships are commonly pursued by students finishing their GCSEs as an alternative to A-Levels and an undergraduate degree, but many programmes are open to school leavers, 18-year-olds, graduates and older people.
Businesses often don’t consider or aren’t aware of the options and advantages of enrolling existing employees onto apprenticeships to retrain in a new field.
5) There is no support outside of the programme
Apprenticeships typically involve a training provider and a business to facilitate the programme, however there is an assumption that apprenticeships provide no support to apprentices from professionals outside of the scheme. However, schemes like the Manchester United Academy apprenticeship offer regular peripheral support.