On Apprenticeships and Careers Advice


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On Apprenticeships and Careers Advice

26 Mar 2015

According to the Second Annual Industry Apprentice Survey, prepared by the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC), 45% of current apprentices said that careers information, advice and guidance in their school or college was poor, very poor or they didn’t receive any.

It is certainly a good sign for all apprenticeship providers that the same study states that 56% of apprentices found out about apprenticeships on their own initiative, and 55% were strongly supported by their parents/guardians to take up an apprenticeship, as it shows that apprentices are a highly motivated group. Only 7% of apprentices found out about apprenticeships through their careers advisor – suggesting a dangerous trend in the way apprenticeships are portrayed by schools.

Are apprenticeships the first choice?

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) report found that although 9 in 10 parents support the idea of apprenticeships in general, just 19% had discussed them with their child’s school, whereas 45% had discussed the possibility of their child going to university.

To add in a few more numbers, another CITB report (Educating the Educators) states a few quite sobering facts when it comes to careers advice: 44% of teachers admit to having offered ill-informed careers advice to students, over 60% of careers advisers in schools offer no information on job prospects based on available work and three quarters of the schools visited by Ofsted are not fulfilling their legal duty to provide skills advice.

If we sum up these numbers, the message is clear: most current apprentices had to find out about their apprenticeships on their own and often didn’t receive relevant careers advice.

On the other hand, our recent survey about Employer Engagement shows that 68% of further education providers are planning to focus on promoting apprenticeships in 2015, followed by 65% planning to increase the number of employers they work with. With ongoing support from the government and additional awareness initiatives such as National Apprenticeships week, the trend should be changing.  Yet the CITB report shows the advice given is largely a personal view and is not impartial with 35% of careers advisers believing that construction is an unattractive career opportunity and over half of the careers advisors don’t use labour market information.

Improving the careers advice

It is natural to us as humans to recommend things we are familiar with. That said, Careers Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) has to be impartial and based on facts. We have covered some ideas about how to improve careers advice in secondary schools in one of our previous posts. Careers advisors need to present apprenticeships alongside other career paths as an alternative to college and university. For many careers, there are various paths for progression. With Higher Level Apprenticeships leading to a qualification equivalent to Honours, apprenticeships are no longer focused only on vocational training, but provide an alternative to learners who prefer to get a qualification while employed.

Careers Explorer illustrates our belief as to how careers advice should be provided. The student alone, or with their careers advisor, is able to explore possible occupations, comparing the employment and earning prospects for his or her region, based on Office for National Statistics data. At the same time, the student can explore relevant courses available in the area related to the career thanks to links to National Course datasets. Course providers are listed together, whether they are offered by training providers, colleges or universities, including courses that are part of apprenticeships. In addition to the course search, they can have a look at relevant apprenticeships available at that time via a link to the National Apprenticeship Scheme. For universities we have included links to their UCAS pages. Students can also relevant job adverts live to see how they stack up against their expectations and to learn about real job market.

What do you think is the reason behind these statistics? Feel free to contact us or tweet us at @bringdatatolife to share your opinion.

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