The Rising Demand for Apprenticeships
New UCAS research demonstrates a strong demand for apprenticeships from students who completed their A-Levels and GCSEs this year. The research published this week shows 78% of students do not intend on immediately starting a full-time university degree. Of these young people, 56% are considering an apprenticeship.
The Advantages of Apprenticeships
At Connectr, we’re pleased to see more and more young people realising that there is more than one option to consider after school and that university isn’t the only path to success. Apprenticeships offer a huge range of benefits to students:
Offer Students Choice
Apprenticeships can be great for students less suited to the world of academia; those that are more practically minded, for instance.
When it comes to education, one size does not fit all, and it’s crucial that this is communicated to young people. The traditional educational route of GCSEs, A-Levels and a university degree isn’t for everyone, and apprenticeships can really break-up this conveyor belt mentality for students that won’t benefit from continuing on a rigid path that relies heavily on exam success.
Encourage Individuality and Entrepreneurism
Apprenticeships are also a good option for individual and disruptive thinkers. While university certainly encourages free-thinking within a subject area, a rigid approach to education risks stifling entrepreneurism and creativity.
All the fastest growing companies in the world are those that disrupt, not conform and apprenticeships nurture the kind of talent that will thrive in these settings.
Prepare Young People for the World of Work
There continues to be a debate about the purpose of education, is it to teach students about the subjects themselves or to prepare them for the world of work? Whatever your views, it’s undeniable that, eventually, the majority of people will leave education and go out into the world of work.
Unlike students at university, apprentices are provided with real-life work experience while working towards a qualification, something that is invaluable to employers. Apprentices qualify equipped with a host of industry knowledge and experiences, enabling them to hit the ground running at work. This is particularly valuable for young people that have their eyes set firmly on the world of work in a specific sector.
The Challenges that Remain
While the UCAS research shows a promising increase in the number of students considering apprenticeships, it is clear that challenges remain. Almost a fifth of students (18%) who are not planning to go to university or college in autumn feel they do not have many options for next year. Just 11% of students say they received enough careers information, advice, and guidance to make a decision about their future. Shockingly, almost one in 10 (9%) state they did not receive any careers guidance at all.
The data clearly demonstrates that more still needs to be done to better inform all students about the options available to them, including apprenticeships. It is not good enough to simply send out the odd information pack in the post or over email. Students need to be properly engaged and offered the experiences and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their future.
Virtual Work Experience
One solution is offering virtual work experience programmes. These are a fantastic way to provide students with deep insights into specific industries, the world of work and what apprenticeships will involve. Plus, they can be launched at scale, overcoming regional barriers and reaching young people who have previously missed out on these types of opportunities.
At Connectr, we’ve worked with a host of employer partners to develop successful virtual work experience programmes, including recent initiatives with Deloitte and Cisco which have yielded fantastic results.
Working with Deloitte, we leveraged online workshops and mentoring through our digital platform, to specifically engage sixth form students that were less likely to secure accountancy jobs.
Similarly, we ran a virtual work experience programme with Cisco, which successfully inspired 72% of participants to pursue a career in technology after school.
Every young person is different, so it’s important to provide students with various opportunities and routes to success.
Alongside apprenticeships, we have also seen a rise in the number of other schemes designed to provide young people with alternative routes into the workplace. For example, the Government’s Kickstart Scheme is creating jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term employment.
In addition, Connectr has recently joined forces with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to launch our Get into Work initiative, that actively supports young people across the UK into employment through mentoring.
A Final Word
There are solutions to ensuring that all young people leave school feeling empowered to choose the right path for them. However, it is critical that the Government and UK businesses work collaboratively to build on the progress already made to put alternative options, like apprenticeships, in the spotlight.
To find out more about Connectr, get in touch.