Apprenticeships better prepare youngsters for a career

Apprenticeships better prepare youngsters for a career

Students that choose to undertake an apprenticeship rather than go to university end up better equipped for the workplace, according to new research by a Midlands firm.

As the deadline for university applications closes, students have the nail-biting wait to find out if they have received an offer from one of their top choices.

But while they are waiting for a response, it might be worth considering an alternative path into their chosen career - an apprenticeship.

Recent research by Midlands-based training provider Performance Through People has revealed that young people actually feel better equipped for work following vocational study.

Performance through People conducted a survey of 289 students on completion of their apprenticeships in a range of subjects, including administration, management, retail, accounting and care work.

Apprenticeships focus on practical, work-based learning and can also include online study and classroom sessions to enable youngsters to achieve a recognised qualification or apprenticeship standard.

More than 90% of students surveyed rated their apprenticeship as excellent in meeting their needs and 97% commended the quality of teaching, training and assessment, rating it nine or 10 out of 10.

Importantly, 92% of apprentices felt they had been very well prepared for their next step in education or employment.

The findings come after recent reports of biased careers advice for school leavers, where apprenticeships are not given the same level of backing as university.

According to a survey of over 1,000 17-18-year olds who will be completing their A-levels this year, twice as many school leavers (72%) were aware of UCAS and university opportunities compared to the National Apprenticeship Service (36%).

The findings by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians), are a concern to apprenticeship providers who feel the value of vocational training is underplayed, to the detriment of young people who need realistic routes into a career.

Suzie Webb, director of education and development at AAT, said: “Our research suggests that information and advice is somewhat lacking, and arguably biased towards the university route. 

“There is certainly more that can be done to ensure they are presented with all the options available.”

Gill Durkin, business development director at Performance through People, said: “We believe this imbalance in careers advice for students can devalue the role of quality apprenticeships in getting young people work-ready. 

“University will not be right for everyone and students should be given a fair appraisal of all options open to them on completing their GCSEs or A Levels.

“Our survey highlights how valuable our apprentices have found their experience and shows we are fulfilling our aim in preparing young people for work. 

“Employers often value vocational skills and practical knowledge of the workplace as much as academic qualifications and there is no better way to provide this than through an apprenticeship.”