Kids ‘work harder for exams’ than we did

17 August 2016 

  • Over two-thirds of parents say their children work harder studying for exams than they did
  • Nearly three out of four parents say the pressure to achieve is increasing
  • Parents back apprenticeships as an alternative to university but half say schools have never mentioned the option 

Students celebrating – or commiserating about – exam results this week will have worked harder and been under more pressure to achieve exam success than their parents, new research from Prudential1 shows.

Its study among parents of pupils sitting GCSE and A-Level exams in England and Wales this summer found that 67 per cent believe their children put in more effort than they did while 71 per cent say there is more pressure to achieve exam success nowadays.

The Prudential research, released ahead of A-Level results day (18 August), shows growing support from parents for their children to sign up for apprenticeship schemes as an alternative to university. But it also reveals signs that parents may not be fully informed by schools about the options open to their children.

Even though over three-quarters of parents questioned (76 per cent) say they would encourage their children to start an apprenticeship, more than half of parents (51 per cent) claim their child’s school has never mentioned apprenticeships as a career option. And 56 per cent say their children have not mentioned the option of an apprenticeship to them either.

But when asked for their preference, 27 per cent of parents believe that a university education is the best choice for their children, with just over a quarter (26 per cent) saying that apprenticeships don’t offer the best career path.

Official figures2 show that more than 84,000 under-19s started apprenticeships between August last year and January 2016, while an additional 30,000 were studying towards higher apprenticeships in 2015/16. More than 2.7m apprentices at all levels have started working in a scheme since May 2010. Prudential also offers its own successful apprenticeship scheme. 

Simon Moffatt, human resources director at Prudential UK, said: “The class of 2016 A-level students deserve congratulations for their hard work – their parents recognise that not only are they studying harder but they are also under more pressure than mum and dad were to achieve good exam results.

“But students are now faced with the big decision about what to do next. University will be the natural choice for many but not for everyone. Young people looking to take their first steps towards a career should consider carefully all of the options open to them.

“In many cases apprenticeships are just as valuable as a degree when it comes to starting a career and with more big companies offering apprenticeship schemes, they can provide a viable alternative to university. It is worrying if parents and students are not aware of all the opportunities on offer and more needs to be done to ensure they recognise that apprenticeship schemes are available across a wide number of industries and sectors.”

The Prudential apprenticeship scheme pays the National Living Wage and goes beyond just offering employment. Its aim is to arm young people with the qualifications, knowledge and life skills needed to embark on a successful career in whichever field they choose.

The scheme offers placements in a wide range of roles in the company, including within its IT, HR, customer services, operations, sales support, distribution, financial planning and marketing departments. Positions are available within Prudential’s London, Reading and Stirling offices.

To date, Prudential has recruited over 175 young people into its high quality, work-based training programme, which is based on a 13-month contract.

Notes to editors 

For more information visit: 

1 Research conducted by Consumer Intelligence amongst 1,461 people, 14 – 24 July 2016.

2 new-figures-released-today

Media contacts

Louise Bryans

020 7004 8280 020 7004 8280

Darragh Leeson

020 7004 8081 020 7004 8081

Radio interviews via ISDN or various smartphone apps can be arranged on request.