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Students struggling to access information on apprenticeships

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Over half (55%) of students looking to apply to higher education in 2022 are interested in apprenticeships, but a lack of information is inhibiting their decision making.

New research by UCAS has found while students are increasingly more interested in apprenticeships, 22% said they have struggled to get information about them.

Almost a third (31%) of students said it was very easy to access information about university compared to just 6% who said the same about apprenticeships.

Martin Tiplady, CEO of Chameleon People Solutions, said apprenticeships are not given the recognition they deserve and are often regarded as an inferior route into work.

He told HR magazine: "Apprenticeships are a really successful way of pursuing a professional career, but some – individuals and employers – look down their noses at them.

"Much needs to be done to change mindsets for they are a thoroughly worthwhile career route."
Tiplady said apprenticeships are a good way of recruiting and preparing an individual for a professional career.
"This is why they need to stop being regarded as an inferior career path; the marketing messaging needs to pick this up and portray apprenticeships in a wholly new and different way," he said. 

The majority (87%) of students think a university degree is important to getting a job, compared to 57% who think the same for apprenticeships.

UCAS chief executive, Clare Marchant, said this suggests apprenticeships need to be better explained to students.

She said: “More needs to be done to shake off the outdated stigma or misplaced snobbery associated with apprenticeships, given they are a great start to any career.

“We recognise students have more choice than ever before but navigating the information available can be challenging for both students and advisers.”

Since January 2018, The Baker clause, an amendment to the Technical and Further Education Act has required secondary schools and colleges in England, by law, to allow other education and training providers access to their pupils to inform them of technical and vocational qualifications or apprenticeships.

However, as 89% of students said it would be useful to have an advice platform to help find and apply for apprenticeships, Jane Hickie, chief executive at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) said the amendment is being disregarded.

She said: “The government appeared to recognise this when it published a three-point plan in its Further Education white paper to address the matter but the absence of specific measures in the recently published Skills Bill would suggest we have a plan that’s a bark but no bite. 

“AELP will be urging parliamentarians to use the Bill to fix this once and for all.”

Hickie added she believes inspection of careers guidance in schools and colleges should be a more prominent part of Ofsted’s remit and if the guidance is inadequate, it should limit the overall grade outcome.

This research came from UCAS’s report, Where next? Improving the journey to becoming an apprentice.


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