With the introduction of National Apprenticeship Week, apprenticeships are finally being awarded the recognition they deserve. At UK University search, apprenticeships found much of the work we do - with partners, exhibitors and events. Last week at our London fair we had a whole exhibition space purely to showcase apprenticeship options.
If however, you were unable to attend and are less accustomed to the apprenticeship world, we've provided a very brief overview of apprenticeships and their relevance to the changing job market and your options.
Providing specialist skills and experience, in conjunction with a salary, apprenticeships are fundamental to our society of social mobility. Yet they are often overlooked, with ambitious students regimentally being ushered towards university.
So, what exactly is an apprenticeship?
It is a vocational training programme that provides on the job training with study – usually just one day a week – so you can earn while you learn! Apprenticeships are offered by a diverse range of industries and prestigious companies. So young people are certainly not limited, and carefully need to consider all the opportunities that are available.
Interestingly, a recent report by AAT (the Association of Accounting Technicians) has discovered that over half, a whopping 54% of university leavers, would now consider an alternative route into employment. Likewise, 64% of 16-18 year olds also believe that apprenticeships could fast track their career. Vocational training is now increasingly appealing to students due to the ability to: earn money instantly; gain valuable work experience and necessary professional skills.
Of young people targeted, only half claimed to have been made aware of work schemes and apprenticeships and over half affirmed that career advise still hails university as the superior path.
During the investigation, AAT also spoke to UK firms to provide a better understanding of exactly what employers prioritise. 58% stated that they do not look for candidates with a degree – in fact just 16% always required a degree. Employers asked felt that the right attitude was monumental and that appropriate work experience was also invaluable – both much more influential than the applicants' qualifications.
So, what will happen in future?
The clear majority of employers believe that young people will naturally embark on different routes into the workplace. The AAT investigation has proved that recruiters view traditional qualifications, and particularly the emphasis on degrees, as outdated. These opinions obviously will sculpt a new way of recruiting as well as a different set of values within the educational and professional sectors.