Many graduates ‘would have preferred apprenticeships’

More than three quarters of recent university graduates were not told about apprenticeships or vocational training routes before leaving secondary education, a survey has revealed.

March 12, 2013

According to a poll of 1,774 people who graduated in the last two years, 76 per cent said they were not informed about the alternatives to university before leaving school. Of these, more than half (54 per cent) said they would have picked an apprenticeship or vocational training route instead of their degree had had they received better information.

The top reasons why the graduates would have opted for vocational training as opposed to university were to avoid debt (77 per cent); to gain a better position at work (61 per cent) and because of a belief that it would be less stressful than university (39 per cent). Around a third (31 per cent) said that they were now in an industry for which their degree was “completely irrelevant”.

The survey was conducted by, a website offering students information on the opportunities that exist away from university.

“The reason we carried out this research is due to growing concerns that young people aren’t being given the information they need to help them make informed decisions about their future,” said Sarah Clover, communications director at the website.

“Many are pushed into university and later regret studying for a degree. It’s clearly a huge problem, because the overwhelming majority of recent graduates were not told about apprenticeships or vocational training as an option. This is simply not good enough and the young people of today are being let down.”

The survey was released to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week, which runs until 15 March.

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Reader's comments (2)

Maybe the findings will partly pre-empt the Government’s pending response to the Richard review to be announced later this week. Pertinent to the group mentioned in the THES news article, currently validated Higher Apprenticeship largely focus on QCF levels 4and 5, ie. HNC and HND/Foundation Degree or equivalent knowledge element offered by the FE sector, operated to date in co-operation with a fairly small group of committed approved employers/Sector Skills Councils, and are typically directed to the Technician/Incorporated member class of the major Commercial and Technology Institutes. However the recent Government policy statement suggests that level 6/7 Professional Apprenticeships geared to u/g Degree/Masters or equivalent qualifications combined with a matching NVQ competence element, may prove an attractive alternative HE route for some, to access the Corporate member class of the Professional Bodies. Much I suspect will depend on tailoring this upper level of professional Apprenticeship accordingly, and not least generating enough financially engaged Employers of the right quality to secure Ofqual scheme Approval, and not least ample additional BIS supportive funding.

Higher ed is not for everyone. But the university sector needs more students to keep and add more staff and especially, administrative/management jobs.

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