• Nearly half of school leavers know little about apprenticeships and six out of 10 are not aware of which employers offer this option
  • Many believe that most apprenticeship schemes involve manual labour and that opportunities for girls are limited
  • More than one in four say information about apprenticeship schemes is poor or non-existent
  • Prudential launches 2017 apprenticeship programme for up to 22 young people across three UK locations, paying the National Living Wage

School leavers are potentially missing out on apprenticeship opportunities due to a communication breakdown on careers information, exclusive new research* by large UK employer Prudential shows.

Its nationwide study among 16-18 year olds found that nearly half (47 per cent) admit to not knowing about apprenticeship opportunities and 61 per cent do not know which employers offer apprenticeships.

Many are put off by the belief that apprenticeships are focused on manual labour and that opportunities for girls are limited to supposedly “traditional” female careers – 47 per cent believe most apprenticeships involve manual labour and 53 per cent believe opportunities for girls are mainly in nursing, health and beauty and childcare.

The research – released as the tenth annual National Apprenticeship Week is launched to celebrate the success of apprenticeships – highlights changing school leaver attitudes on apprenticeships as an alternative to university. Around 46 per cent disagree that apprenticeships should be seen as second best to university while one in three (33 per cent) disagree that attending university is more likely to mean career success. 

But a communication problem persists – more than a quarter of students (26 per cent) in the study say that either the information on apprenticeships they received was poor or that they received no information at all.

Simon Moffatt 100x100Simon Moffatt, human resources director at Prudential’s UK insurance business, said: “The tenth National Apprenticeship Week is celebrating the success of apprenticeships in the past decade which has seen participation hit record levels with 899,940 funded apprentices in the 2015/16 academic year.

“However, the message on the wide range of opportunities available, with more than 1,500 job roles across a range of 170 industries on offer, is not getting through and too many school leavers are still not aware of the full range of career options available.”

Prudential is committed to supporting apprenticeships. Its 2017 apprenticeship programme, which will create opportunities for up to 22 young people who will be paid the National Living Wage, is the latest stage of the company’s £4.1 million investment in its scheme over a four-year period.

The research also revealed many positive findings, with almost a third (31 per cent) of students aged 16-18 having considered taking an apprenticeship instead of their chosen career path. Of those who had taken an apprenticeship the most common reasons were: that the practical skills and work experience would be more valuable than going to university or into full-time employment (60 percent); the desire to earn money while studying (12 per cent); and the concern that getting a degree wouldn’t necessarily lead to getting a good job (8 per cent).

The Prudential apprenticeship programme goes beyond just offering employment. The 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 programme 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 178 young people to its high quality, work-based training programme, which gives all apprentices the opportunity to achieve a recognised vocational qualification as well as gaining important work-based skills. It is based on a 13-month training contract, with all apprentices being paid the National Living Wage.

Applications for the 2017 Prudential Apprenticeship Programme open in early March. More information about the programme is available here.

* Research conducted by YouthSight amongst 621 16-18 year olds across the UK, February 2017.

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