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School students want more employment assistance

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Only 21% of students said they felt supported by their school or college to investigate apprenticeships

Almost all students (98%) between the ages of 17 and 18 felt that their school or college should put more effort into assisting young people into employment, according to a survey from recruitment platform GetMyFirstJob.

Two-thirds of respondents (66%) believed that apprenticeships offer faster career progression than further education routes such as college or university, which will come as a boost to employers following last week's release of further detail on the national apprenticeship levy.

However, only 21% claimed that they felt supported by their school or college to investigate apprenticeship options.

College and university degrees were the most talked about education and career options in UK schools, according to the respondents, with 63% claiming they discussed the former with their career adviser and 68% the latter. Traineeships rated the least talked about, with only 10% stating that their career adviser had explained the option of such schemes with them.

Additionally, 91% of UK students believe that examinations should not be the only way of measuring ability. This finding coincides with A Level results day.

Alex Arundale, group HR director at IT services provider Advanced, agreed that exams are not the only way to judge the value of a young candidate.

“At Advanced we have specifically designed our talent acquisition programme to overcome issues,” she said. “We’re passionate about having a recruitment programme that avoids unconscious bias and that is based on skills and competency with candidates from diverse backgrounds. We believe student ability should be measured by capability and potential, ensuring everyone is given a chance – CVs are thrown out the window here.

“We opened our new Midlands HQ in April with a clear vision of using our programme to recruit 400 high potential entry-level roles. We’ve already recruited 150 of the 400 against our 18-month target, of which 96% are millennials. However, we have identified A-level students as a missed opportunity and this is something we’ll be focusing on moving forward,” she added.

Professional services company PwC has also released figures showing that the firm is receiving more applications from students straight after their A Levels, suggesting more young people are choosing the apprenticeship route.

Applications to PwC’s school leaver programmes have risen by 8% compared to the same time last year and by 20% since 2014.

PwC head of student recruitment Richard Irwin said many students are "now actively choosing apprenticeships" over university.

“This is a win-win situation for students and employers," he said. "The more paths into an organisation the more likely employers are to reach the best talent, and students are realising that they don’t necessarily have to go to university to get the best jobs.”