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Apprenticeships better than university, majority of parents claim

A poll has found that more than half of mothers and fathers would encourage their child to do an apprenticeship rather than apply to university.

Apprenticeships are better than a place at university, according to a majority of parents (Chris Radburn/PA)
Apprenticeships are better than a place at university, according to a majority of parents (Chris Radburn/PA)

By Alison Kershaw, PA Education Correspondent

The majority of parents believe that getting an apprenticeship gives youngsters a better chance of securing a good job than going to university, according to a poll.

Just over half of mothers and fathers say they would encourage their child to become an apprentice rather than applying for a degree course, it suggests.

The survey, commissioned the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) also found that while many parents know nothing about the government’s new T-levels, once told about them they are optimistic that the qualifications will help prepare young people for the workplace.

T-levels are new technical courses – the equivalent to A-levels – that are due to be rolled out in England from next year.

As parents are a major influencer in young people’s education and career choices, educating and informing parents will be key to making T-levels a success Rob Wall, CMI

The survey, which questioned more than 800 parents, found that 59% agree that an apprenticeship provides better job opportunities than going to university.

Just over half (51%) said they would encourage their child to apply for an apprenticeship instead of applying to go to university.

Just under half of those polled agreed that, generally speaking, vocational qualifications are better than academic qualifications.

On T-levels, just 29% of those polled said they know anything about the qualifications. This has improved from 23% who said the same last year.

After given a short description of the courses, 72% said they think T-levels will help prepare young people with the skills needed for the workforce.

Rob Wall, head of policy at CMI, said: “Raising awareness of T-levels with parents is proving to be a real challenge.

“As parents are a major influencer in young people’s education and career choices, educating and informing parents will be key to making T-levels a success.

“At CMI, we know that high quality technical and vocational education increases employability and boosts social mobility, and the Government’s recent announcement to invest additional funding in T-levels is to be welcomed.

“But students cannot enjoy these benefits if they are not aware of or not encouraged to consider non-academic pathways.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said a nationwide campaign will be launched next month to raise awareness of T-levels among pupils, parents and employers.

– The Opinium survey questioned 824 parents in England with children aged 11-18, between August 5-9.

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