Apprenticeships just don't look right to Londoners

Hayley Kirton
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Londoners are more likely to look down on apprenticeships than elsewhere in the country (Source: Getty)

The mums and dads of London are the least likely to want their offspring picking up an apprenticeship, a survey released today has found.

The research by YouGov on behalf of Reed in Partnership and qualifications body NCFE asked 2,042 UK adults if they had an 18-year-old child what they thought the best option for their future would be. A mere 12 per cent of Londoners said an apprenticeship would be the best option, compared with one in five (20 per cent) across England as a whole.

Proportion of adults by region who view an apprenticeship as the best option for an 18-year-old

North West  25%

East Midlands  24%

West Midlands  23%

North East  23%

South West  22%

Yorkshire and the Humber  21%

East of England  20%

Wales  20%

South East  19%

Scotland  19%

London  12%

Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of Londoners said that higher education was the best option.

"We support the government's aim to increase the number of young people going down the apprenticeship route after school," said Reed in Partnership managing director Martin Fallon. "The benefits of apprenticeships are clear, both for the individuals undertaking them and for the taxpayer.

“However, our new research highlights the scale of the challenge the government faces to realise this ambition. Apprenticeships continue to suffer from an image problem compared to higher education."

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Managing director of NCFE, Esme Winch, added: "This research confirms what many in the education and skills sector have long suspected; that the apprenticeship 'brand' is weak after decades of changes to the system and promotion of a university route."

The survey also found that the younger somebody is, the less likely they are to take a positive stance on apprenticeships. While 27 per cent of those aged 55 and over said that an apprenticeship was the best option for a flourishing future, just seven per cent of those aged 18 to 24 felt the same way.

Fallon added: "The very young people the government wants to consider taking up apprenticeships are the least likely age group to view them favourably."

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In light of the findings, Reed in Partnership and NCFE are recommending careers advisers concentrate on promoting alternative avenues to university, employers engage more with schools to help improve the perception of apprenticeships and government boost the minimum wage for apprentices to the same rate applicable to other workers.

Since the introduction of National Living Wage in April, workers aged 25 or over have been entitled to at least £7.20 per hour for their efforts, while apprenticeships are still only due a minimum of £3.30 for their toil.

Government has previously pledged to create three million more apprenticeships by 2020.

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Earlier research by business support organisation Interserve unearthed a similar image problem with apprenticeships and Londoners. Its study discovered that just two per cent of youngsters in London plan on embarking on an apprenticeship scheme, compared with seven per cent across the UK as a whole.

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