National Apprenticeship Week 4-8 March 2019

Around three quarters of parents consider an apprenticeship a viable option for their child but less than 1 in 10 would feel confident in knowing how to support their child in pursuing this future career path, according to a major new survey.

More than 1,000 parents and carers from nine secondary schools took part in the survey run by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership with Amazing Apprenticeships. It was aimed at those looking after children in Years 9-13 to gauge public perceptions of apprenticeships and what more can be done to raise awareness.

The survey findings will help to dispel the myth that apprenticeships are seen as a second tier option to attending university full time, a view expressed by Education Secretary Rt Hon Damian Hinds: “The sad truth is that outdated and snobby attitudes are still putting people off apprenticeships which means they’re missing out on great jobs and higher salaries – many of them in the sorts of firms graduates look to land jobs with after university.”

The main findings found that while there is overwhelming support for apprenticeships (74%), parents and carers are not sure about how best to support their child in pursuing this option. Just 8% said they would feel confident helping their child apply for an apprenticeship compared with 22% who said they felt confident about the full-time university application process. More than three quarters of those surveyed (78%) said they were unaware of degree apprenticeships at levels 6 and 7, giving students the opportunity to achieve a full bachelor's or master's degree while undergoing their apprenticeship.

The principal reasons parents gave for being discouraged from encouraging their children to apply for an apprenticeships were:

  • Employers may not value apprentices as highly as graduates (45%)
  • Parents don’t know enough about apprenticeships to make an informed decision (36%)

When asked how they wanted to find out about apprenticeships, 67% said an information pack; 57% requested a website dedicated to apprenticeships; 56% said they would like to hear directly from employers and 51% said they would like to attend an event on apprenticeships.

As part of its ‘Fire It Up’ apprenticeship campaign, the Department for Education has recognised that access to information at the right time is critical to helping young people choose their career path. The Government is committed to increasing the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in England to three million starts by 2020.

Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said: "Hertfordshire is the county of opportunity and we must develop a regionalised economy outside of M25 with a highly skilled workforce. In order to increase the number of apprenticeships, businesses need to spread the word about the good quality skills apprentices can bring. I am MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, an affluent area, where I have found some cultural resistance to apprenticeships. Schools can also experience this when talking to parents, their customers, and we must help shift this view."

Gareth Dace, Senior Enterprise Co-ordinator, Hertfordshire LEP, said: “This survey shows how positively apprenticeships are currently perceived. This is a remarkable shift in attitudes and behaviours in a very short space of time. These findings will help us to target support where it is needed most by raising awareness of what help is available locally and making sure that this information is readily accessible in a variety of easy to digest formats for learning providers, parents, carers and students.”

Anna Morrison, Director, Amazing Apprenticeships, said: “I am absolutely passionate about the power apprenticeships can have to transform people’s lives at all ages and stages of their career development. The next step for us must be to build on this and to ensure that we are supporting parents and carers to help their children and older students make informed career choices.”

The University of Hertfordshire’s flagship Hertfordshire Apprenticeship Show will take place on Wednesday, 6 March, as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2019 (4-8 March). Employers from across the county will be showcasing their current and/or future apprenticeship vacancies. The event will be held at the University of Hertfordshire’s Weston Auditorium, de Havilland Campus, AL10 9EU, and runs from 3.30-7pm.

Kate Byford, Director of Business Development at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for parents and students to find out about the range of popular apprenticeship routes available on their doorstep. Many of the forty businesses we partner with will be at the 2019 Hertfordshire Apprenticeship Show. They are leading the way in helping to shape the future of higher education, delivering courses with us that give graduates essential professional skills for the modern workplace. 

“This partnership approach ensures our students develop the knowledge and attributes to succeed in business and has led to the University having the best graduate employment rate in the East of England for the last two years.”

The University of Hertfordshire currently has partnerships with over 40 businesses, with more than 200 Degree Apprenticeship students on 14 expert courses. It is a key Degree Apprenticeship provider in the East of England and is partnering with leading multinational and blue chip businesses, including Airbus, Epson and MBDA. It is also one of the UK’s leading education providers for public sector Degree Apprenticeships – working with local government and NHS partners in the region.

For more information about Hertfordshire Apprenticeship Show, contact the Business Development Team: be@herts.ac.uk. Register here.

Hertfordshire based company, Amazing Apprenticeships, works with the National Apprenticeship Service, part of the Department for Education, to create resources to support teachers, parents and students across England who are considering apprenticeships. All resources can be accessed free of charge here: www.amazingapprenticeships.com.

Hertfordshire LEP has also commissioned a website dedicated to apprenticeships. This portal will be a one-stop shop which will promote jobs, apprenticeships, training and skills development opportunities and connect students and job seekers with employers and education and training organisations.

The portal will further support the Hertfordshire Skills Strategy to 2020. This sets out a detailed action plan which takes into account the views and needs of schools, colleges, businesses and other organisations to help increase and develop our existing and future workforce’s capacity, and the Apprenticeship Strategy 2017 to 2020.