Please refer to our Privacy policy for important information on the use of cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to this.

Press Release

Lack of awareness main barrier for modern apprenticeships

by Interserve Press Office | Jun 13, 2016
Are apprentices the path to success?

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT ONLY 7 PER CENT OF YOUNG PEOPLE CURRENTLY PLAN TO DO AN APPRENTICESHIP.

Research undertaken by Interserve highlights that there is still much work to do to raise the profile of apprenticeships among three key groups - young people, their parents and many UK employers. 

Apprenticeships still lag behind academic-based career paths as the preferred choice among each of the three groups. The study shows that only 7 per cent of the young people polled plan to do an apprenticeship, with 72 per cent planning on going to university or college. Only 27 per cent of the parents surveyed think that an apprenticeship would be most useful for their children in pursuing a future career, versus 42 per cent who believe a university degree is the best option. 

The survey also indicates a significant lack of awareness among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the different types of apprenticeship schemes available, with only 32 per cent saying they had heard of a Higher or Degree level apprenticeship. However, approximately half (46 per cent) of large companies had heard of these types of apprenticeship.

The study’s findings suggest that there is much to do in building awareness of the options available to help more young people find career opportunities through apprenticeships.

Additionally, the research points to a significant North-South divide in the attitudes of young people and employers towards apprenticeships, with both groups in the South favouring a university degree over work-based learning, compared to those in the North who view apprenticeships more positively.

For example, only 7 per cent of London and South West-based businesses value qualifications from work-based learning, such as apprenticeships, when looking for new recruits, whereas this figure is twice as high (14 per cent) in the West Midlands and stands at 19 per cent in the North East. Furthermore, among the young people surveyed, only 2 per cent of those based in London were looking to take up an apprenticeship as their next educational or career step, which is significantly lower than in the North of England or Scotland (8 per cent).

Adrian Ringrose, Interserve’s Chief Executive, comments:

“This report provides a snapshot of attitudes and perceptions towards apprenticeships among young people, parents and employers at a time when the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy has firmly pushed the topic onto the business agenda. However, as the report shows, much more needs to be done to change perceptions and raise awareness of apprenticeship schemes.

“It is evident that apprenticeships suffer from an image problem and lack the prestige assigned to university education. Business, government and educators must all work together to better inform parents and young people about apprenticeships, in order to ensure that these schemes can become a driving force for skills and sustainable careers.”

Grace Mehanna, Talent & Skills Director at Business in the Community, which works with businesses to create a fairer society and a more sustainable future, said:

“With the Apprenticeship Levy coming into force next year, businesses have more opportunity than ever before to actively shape the skills agenda. Apprenticeships open up new routes into employment beyond graduate schemes, but it’s important for businesses to make sure that these routes are accessible and visible to young people from all backgrounds. 

“Interserve’s findings show that there is still a long way to go to communicate the full value of apprenticeships to parents and young people. To build a strong and diverse talent pipeline, we would urge businesses to make this a central part of their recruitment strategy.”

The nationally representative survey of more than 5,000 people and over 500 businesses undertaken by YouGov, was commissioned by Interserve, to assess how well apprenticeships are currently understood and what challenges there might be to their wider adoption. Interserve, the FTSE-listed international support services and construction company, is one of the UK’s largest private employers. 

Key findings include:

Young people:

  • Just 7 per cent of the young people surveyed said they are planning to do an apprenticeship
  • 47 per cent of young people said they felt that having a university degree is the most useful way to start a career 
  • Only 17 per cent of young people said they felt that doing an apprenticeship is the most useful way to start a career 
  • Four out of five (82 per cent) young people said that they didn’t know the difference between higher or degree level apprenticeships

Parents:

  • 27 per cent of the parents surveyed with an under 18 year old not currently at university think an apprenticeship would be most useful for them in pursuing a future career
  • 42 per cent of parents believe a university degree would be the most useful for their children in pursuing a future career
  • 65 per cent of parents had not heard of Higher Level Apprenticeships 
  • 75 per cent of parents had not heard of Degree Level Apprenticeships 
  • 89 per cent of parents don’t understand the difference between higher or degree level apprenticeships

Employers:

  • 37 per cent of SME respondents believe apprentices to be the most productive of all new recruits 
  • 51 per cent of large companies perceive university graduates to be the most productive of all new recruits
  • 68 per cent of SMEs had not heard of a higher or Degree Level Apprenticeship

Regional view:

  • Just 7 per cent of London-based businesses value qualifications from work-based learning, such as apprenticeships, when looking for new recruits, less than every other region surveyed.
  • Only 17 per cent of London-based employers see apprentices as their ideal recruit, significantly less than the Midlands (45 per cent) and Scotland (43 per cent)
  • More employers in London (33 per cent) value high-level academic skills such as university degrees, when compared to employers based elsewhere in the UK. 

To view the Interserve Society Report, click here.

Read an article from Adrian on the report here.

– Ends – 

Notes to editors

  • YouGov undertook an online survey among a representative quota sample of 5,294 people looking into how apprenticeships are perceived amongst three core groups: UK employers, 13-18 year-olds in secondary education, and their parents. 
  • Interviews were conducted online between April 8-18, 2016.
  • The employers’ survey had a total sample size of 511 adults; the figures have been weighted and are representative of all senior decision makers in private sector businesseses in Great Britain. 
  • For the parents’ survey the total sample size was 4,307 adults, of whom 992 were parents with children aged 18 and under; the figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Great Britain (aged 18+).
  • For the young persons’ survey the total sample size was 509 13-18 year olds; the figures have been weighted and are representative of all 13-18 year olds in Great Britain.

About the Interserve Society Report

As one of the UK’s biggest employers and a significant provider of services to both the public and private sector, Interserve recognises that its role in society goes beyond its day-to-day work.   The company believes that its future success and ability to deliver sound financial returns to shareholders is substantially dependent on its standing in the community, its environmental stewardship and its ability to inspire, engage and develop the skills of its workforce. Interserve commissioned this study to better understand how apprenticeships are perceived among society to improve its way of working and to be a better and more respected business.

The Interserve Society Report - Apprenticeships: The Path to Success? is the second in an annual series of research reports sponsored by the company and examines how well apprenticeships are currently understood and the challenges there might be to embedding them as a genuine alternative to academic pathways.

About Interserve

Interserve is one of the world's foremost support services and construction companies. Our vision is to redefine the future for people and places. Everything we do is shaped by our core values. We are a successful, growing, international business: a leader in innovative and sustainable outcomes for our clients and a great place to work for our people. We offer advice, design, construction, equipment, facilities management and frontline public services. Headquartered in the UK and FTSE listed, we have gross revenues of £3.6 billion and a workforce of circa 80,000 people worldwide.

www.interserve.com

For news follow @interservenews

For further information please contact:

Rhys Jones, Group PR Manager, +44 (0) 118 9602285

Michael Kinirons, CNC Communications, +44 (0) 203 219 8816

Share this


Latest Insight





Opportunities for all - Ex-service Personnel
Discover


SustainAbility
Our SustainAbilities journey

Watch our animation sharing the highlights from the fourth year of progress against Interserve’s SustainAbilities Plan.

Discover
Latest Insight





Opportunities for all - Ex-service Personnel
Discover
Reduced construction waste by 21% across our global operations #ingenuityatwork
Publication 2017 half-year report Download