Alternative routes to employment: Apprenticeships, a reality check

The following is a overview of the conclusions reached in a presentation delivered at the Policy UK event on Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance on Tuesday 24th May 2106 in which we considered the current status of apprenticeships as an alternative pathway to the world of work and higher level skills

Carpentry apprenticeships

 

Our inescapable conclusion was that whilst a variety of alternative routes was to be welcomed the current situation was far from ideal and probably very different from that imagined

We were invited to respond to three key questions:

What impact will the new legislation aimed at ending ‘outdated snobbery’ against technical and professional education have?

The proposed legislation is aimed at schools the imagined issue being that schools were holding back from making young people aware of apprenticeship options. In fact, the issue seemed to be one of supply as much as demand

To what extent are Higher and Degree level apprenticeships becoming an alternative to university?

We reported a similar situation with Higher and Degree level apprenticeships with a broad consensus on the value of these routes as options but actual availability of options limited

With the Department for Education committed to investing £70 million in the Careers Strategy over the course of this Parliament, how much of this will be earmarked for alternative routes and how best should it be put to use?

£70m sounds a lot however, looked at another way, this is just £14m per annum which equates to £22 per GCSE student which is a very small amount when compared to £65,000 invested on average in a young person’s state education.

Hence our conclusion was that whilst a variety of alternative routes was to be welcomed the current situation was far from ideal leading to the following suggestions

  • There is a need to address both the supply and demand side of apprenticeship equation
  • Successful career outcomes require more than just education investment. There are significant consumer and market dimensions that also need to adequately resourced and addressed in a systematic way to deliver on aspirations.
  • The apprenticeship Levy is a potential platform upon which for change

Your views?

Do we need to address demand or supply to realise the potential of apprenticeships? To what extent are Higher and Degree level apprenticeships an alternative? How adequate is the funding of careers education information advice and guidance?

Please share your views in the comments section below

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