David Cameron urges teachers to do more on apprenticeships
British businesses are being deprived of apprentices because university-educated teachers fail to recommend them to pupils, David Cameron has suggested.
The Prime Minister expressed frustration that the apprentices he meets rarely say they heard about the opportunity through school rather than online or via word of mouth.
Mr Cameron pointed to the proportion of teachers who took A-levels and applied for higher education to explain why there not enough teenagers were considering picking in-work training over university.
It comes after Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Ofsted chief inspector, pledged to toughen penalties against schools which failed to provide adequate careers advice for pupils.
The Conservatives have promised to create three million more apprenticeships over the next parliament if re-elected in May.
Speaking to Rolls-Royce workers at a factory in West Sussex, Mr Cameron said the Coalition had improved job prospects for apprentices but called for more to be done.
“There are good things happening, but I think there are a couple of areas we still need to get right. One is the careers advice we give to people in schools.
“So often when I meet apprentices and I ask ‘how did you hear about the apprenticeships’ they say ‘well, I found it online’ or ‘I knew a family friend’ or ‘I knew the business because it was nearby’.
“I don’t get the answer enough: ‘I was told at school about the apprenticeship pathways as well as the university pathway.'”
He continued: “You need to explain both to people. This is not a criticism of teachers but most teachers did A-levels, filled out a Ucas form, went to university. They are very familiar with that path and we need to make sure the careers advice in schools offers both the pathways.”
The Prime Minister said children considering apprenticeships should know they could earn more money quicker than those who spend three years at university before entering the job.
He pledged to publish data on the job prospects and likely salary for each university, academic course and apprenticeship to help guide teenagers’ decision on further education.
“Lets make this information available, lets make sure young people know the choices are,” Mr Cameron said.