The UK government is convinced that apprenticeships will help the country build a robust skills base and ensure its future prosperity. Employers that run apprenticeship schemes have also come to realise the benefits of training young people on the job. Apprentices themselves are full of praise for the experience and the career opportunities it opens up. But for all the accolades and government support, an alarming proportion of young people remain ignorant about this career path, with teachers and parents doing little to help youngsters make informed choices, according to the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).
The organisation made these comments after the publication of data revealing very low awareness of apprenticeships among young people. Research by the Association of Colleges has established that only 17% of boys and 12% of girls consider apprenticeships as a career option. And according to a One Poll survey, only 25% of apprentices have chosen that road with support from their parents, while only a third have received such support from their school.
ECA skills ambassador Diane Johnson said the statistics painted a worrying picture but not really a surprising one. For decades on end, school leavers have been pushed to consider an academic degree their only route to professional success. The government has been changing that but the contribution from teachers and parents remains very small. Young people need to receive all the information necessary to choose the right path for them and this cannot be achieved unless the public realises the value of apprenticeships, especially in traditional craft industries, Johnson added.