Apprenticeship misconceptions putting school leavers off

14 March 2016

  • 85 per cent of school leavers underestimate apprentice pay
  • 29 per cent say information about apprenticeships is poor or non-existent
  • One in seven say their parents don’t approve
  • One in 10 think apprenticeship programmes offer no recognised qualification
  • Prudential launches 2016 apprenticeship programme for up to 40 young people across three UK locations, paying the National Living Wage

Widespread misconceptions about apprentice pay, qualifications and other important benefits are putting many school leavers off pursuing this route to the workplace, according to new research from Prudential.1

Despite an average weekly wage of £2572, the majority of school leavers (85 per cent) thought apprentice pay averaged less than £200 per week and four per cent even believe apprentices work for free.

The findings raise concerns over the quality and quantity of information about apprenticeships reaching school leavers, as one in 10 incorrectly believe that recognised qualifications are not available through apprenticeship programmes.

More than a quarter (29 per cent) of 16-18-year-olds in the UK say the information about apprenticeships in their school or college is ‘poor’, ‘very poor’ or ‘non-existent’ compared with just six per cent who say the same about information regarding university.

Leading insurer Prudential has announced the launch of its 2016 apprenticeship programme, which will create opportunities for up to 40 young people who will be paid the National Living Wage. It’s the latest stage of the company’s £4.1 million investment in its apprentice scheme over a four-year period.

The insurer questioned 16-18-year-olds who have decided against an apprenticeship to understand more about their choices and found that over a third (36 per cent) selected other options due to the perceived level of qualification available, despite some apprenticeship
programmes offering qualifications equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. A slightly lower number (34 per cent) felt that going to university would make them more employable than completing an apprenticeship and 14 per cent said it was because their parents didn’t see an apprenticeship as a viable option.

A further 15 per cent decided against an apprenticeship because their school or college did not position it as an option and eight per cent felt apprenticeships were for students that could not get into university.

Despite these misconceptions, almost half a million3 young people began apprenticeships in 2014/15 and the Government has made a commitment of three million new apprenticeships starts in England between 2015 and 2020.

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