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Parents prefer degrees combining work and study for their children

Three-quarters (75%) of parents think high-quality work experience is the best way to develop the skills employers want, according to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Its survey of parents of 11- to 18-year-olds showed that, with record numbers of young people going through university clearing this year, parents rate degree programmes that combine work and study over traditional university degrees.

Nearly two-thirds of parents (64%) favoured a degree apprenticeship with a major company like Rolls-Royce over a degree at Oxford or Cambridge (36%). Nearly three-quarters (73%) rated a degree that combines full-time work with study over a traditional three-year university degree based on lectures and seminars alone (27%).

Almost three-quarters of parents (71%) also thought the opportunity to develop management, enterprise and leadership skills was important.

The research was published ahead of the announcement of GCSE results tomorrow (22 August).

Speaking to HR magazine, head of policy at CMI Rob Wall said that businesses are generally well prepared to provide rewarding, structured work experience placements.

“We know that employers really value work-ready young people and what they can offer. Previous research has found that most employers are already offering structured work experience placements and many of them are working directly with schools to make this happen. We also believe that the government’s T-Level qualifications will really help to see more work experience placements on offer,” he said.

Wall added that some businesses may still encounter challenges when implementing work experience placements, however. “There are often difficulties with knowing how to reach out to young people, and for some companies it can be difficult to find the time and resources to feel like they can give young people the best experience," he said. “We know that there’s always more that employers can do; particularly around providing specific technical opportunities and reaching out to educators."

Wall offered his suggestions for how employers can provide successful work experience placements. “We’d say that providing a good induction, which gives students the opportunity to understand the business, is really important. Secondly, they need to make sure they’re well prepared through developing a work plan where they get a sense of what it’s like around the business,” he said.

“Employers should provide them with a mentor or buddy to ensure they’re feeling properly supported, or even to just make sure that they’ve got someone to go to lunch with, and provide feedback to let them know how they got on. HR can play an important role in supporting managers to do this and setting the right culture and policies. If they get it right they can get future talent and help to train the workforce of the future.”

The CMI polled 1,003 parents of children aged 11 to 18 years old.