Education Secretary urges parents to rethink their outdated views of apprenticeships

Mentor, apprenticeA new survey conducted by Mumsnet has revealed that many parents have outdated views of apprenticeships which could be stopping young people from pursuing their dream careers.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson is urging parents to move past their outdated stereotypes and consider the benefits of apprenticeships when giving their children advice about future career paths.

The survey showed that a large number of parents are unaware of the wide range of opportunities that apprenticeships can offer a young person. Statistics showed that more than 60% of parents of children aged 13-18 said they had fears that their child would be stuck ‘making the tea’ if they opted for an apprenticeship.

Further findings highlighted that 35% of parents associate apprenticeships with manual jobs, such as carpentry and plumbing, and 45% were entirely unaware that degree apprenticeships existed.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This research shows that outdated views are holding young people back from pursuing their dream career. Every parent wants the best for their children and when they ask you for advice about their futures, it’s incredibly daunting. But I know that when I’m asked for help by my children I will absolutely encourage them to consider an apprenticeship.

So as we celebrate the life changing potential of apprenticeships I would urge all parents to do the same and look beyond stereotypes and embrace every opportunity.”

Justine Roberts, Founder of Mumsnet, has also commented on the research, saying: “Our research shows that parents on Mumsnet are interested in the idea of apprenticeships and don’t dismiss them out of hand, but some of our users are not very confident about explaining the opportunities on offer, and in some cases perhaps haven’t yet fully understood the range of qualifications and the doors they can open with employers.

48% of parents surveyed said they weren’t worried about the future earning potential of their child should they choose an apprenticeship, but there were still concerns with almost half (45%) saying they didn’t think apprenticeships were valued as highly as a university degree by the UK’s top employers.

The government has transformed apprenticeships, working closely with top employers like BT, BAE Systems and Greene King to create more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities so that apprentices gain the skills they need to secure a great job and that provide industry with the workforce they need now and in the future.

Apprenticeships offer the chance to kick start a well-paid career in a wide range of exciting professions such as cyber security and aerospace engineering with options to train right up to degree level. There are many positive benefits apprenticeships are bringing to individuals and workplaces across the country.”

It is important to understand the benefits of apprenticeships and why young people should consider them as a career option. The research showed that of those who had completed an apprenticeship, 90% went on to either secure a job or continued with further learning. Furthermore, a large majority of apprentices agreed that their career prospects had improved since being in their new role (85% of level 2 and 3 apprentices & 83% of level 4 plus apprentices).

Lynne Craddock, whose daughter Lucy chose to do a Data Science Degree Apprenticeship, has commented the advantages of her daughter’s chosen career path: “My daughter is able to get real experience, build her confidence, and network with professionals in the industry at a very young age. She’s at the forefront of technology with brilliant career prospects, paying for her own car and able to save for her first house since she was 18.

I was very nervous at first as I didn’t know how apprenticeships worked. She was leaving home, having to do everything by herself – and the process was very hard – but when she started working I knew it was the best decision she ever made. My advice is to other parents is to give your children a lot of support, especially when they are not always successful in applying. It’s a great opportunity which means it takes a lot of work and resilience to get through.”

Last year, the government launched a campaign called ‘Fire It Up’, in a bid to overhaul the perception of apprenticeships and to position them in a positive light. It promotes apprenticeships among young people, parents and employers in the hope that people will begin to recognise the benefits of the alternative career path.

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