A new survey by social mobility foundation The Sutton Trust, with the help of the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), has found that just one fifth of teachers would advise a high-performing student to take up an apprenticeship.
NFER questioned 1,246 teachers (583 of them from secondary education) and found that only 21% of them would favour talented students opting for an apprenticeship – a small proportion but actually an increase from a similar survey in 2014 that saw just 13% of teachers supporting the move.
Of the secondary teachers surveyed, nearly two-thirds (64%) said they would rarely or never advise students with good grades to take the apprenticeship route. When asked why, a third of those who did not support them said there was a general lack of information about apprenticeships and what options they can offer. 28% of them said university offered better career prospects and 14% based their view on negative reports about the quality of apprenticeships today.
In a separate survey of 2,381 young people aged 11 to 16 taken by The Sutton Trust with Ipsos MORI, some 64% of those polled said they would be very or fairly interested in an apprenticeship available for a job they wanted to do, instead of going to university. This is up from the 55% who said so in 2014. A quarter (25%) of this year’s respondents said they were not very or not at all interested in starting an apprenticeship.
The likelihood of teachers discussing apprenticeship with pupils is on the rise, but still a minority, with the 2018 survey seeing 41% of the surveyed young people saying that they had discussed apprenticeships with their teachers, up from 31% four years ago. However, 40% of the young people said their teachers had never discussed apprenticeships with them.
Of the findings, Sir Peter Lampl, founder of The Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, says: “The best apprenticeships offer young people outstanding career prospects and financial rewards. So it is good to see that a growing proportion see them as offering genuine alternatives to A-levels and degrees. However, we need to do much more to make sure teachers advise their students to opt for apprenticeships. This includes dispelling their view that apprenticeships are not of high quality and also giving teachers access to the information they need.”