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Apprenticeships remain poor relation to university education, say working parents

Almost half of working parents believe apprenticeships are more appropriate for manual or blue-collar jobs and less than a fifth believe apprenticeships have the same status as university education.

In the Employee Outlook Focus on Apprenticeships survey of almost 400 working parents, the top two reasons for believing apprenticeships were a better career option were related to parents having more information about apprenticeships and more local employers offering apprenticeships.

The survey, undertaken by the CIPD as part of its Learning to Work programme, found only 17% of respondents with children aged under 18 agreed they would not think about recommending apprenticeships, a quarter (26%) neither agreed nor disagree, while 53% disagree.

The CIPD is calling for improved careers guidance to challenge perception that apprenticeships are mostly relevant to blue collar careers.

Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, said: "Apprenticeships give young people the chance to learn and develop skills in the context of the workplace and enable employers to grow their own workforce and recruit from a more diverse pool of talent.

"But this new research shows that misperceptions about apprenticeships prevail, which is likely to impact the supply of potential candidates for employers that do offer apprenticeships and deter those that don't from adapting their recruitment methods."

Katerina Rüdiger, skills policy adviser at the CIPD, said: "It's not enough to convince employers that apprenticeships are a good idea, we also need to get the message out to potential candidates and their parents that apprenticeships are a good route into skilled jobs.

"In most cases, parents are the key influencers on young people's education and career choices, so schools and employers need to reach out to them and make sure that they and their children have enough information about alternatives to university education."

She added: "At the moment this is not the case, with many young people reporting that they had no or very little advice and guidance about apprenticeships.