Apprentices earn, on average, £100,000 more than other employees over the course of their life, and today can take their pick from over 200 differing professions – from plumbing and music, to social media and marketing. And, as it turns out, apprentices are good for business, too…

  • 92% of employers who employ apprentices believe that it leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce
  • 81% of customers would prefer to use a company which employs apprentices
  • 77% of employers believe taking on an apprentice makes them more competitive

Data compiled by the National Apprenticeship Service

All of the above goes to show that apprenticeships are good for businesses, and great for apprentices, yet the numbers following this route are plummeting – with a fall of new apprentices by a staggering 61% year on year.

The question then is how schools can do more to promote apprenticeships as a valuable, worthy choice for those considering their first steps beyond the classroom.

Shift the focus

Apprenticeships offer a genuine alternative to university for school leavers who want to earn while they learn. In fact, degree level apprenticeships mean young people can gain a fully-funded degree qualification from a top university, whilst earning a wage with an employer.

UCAS – the academic calendar revolves around it. As the countdown to deadlines approach, parents, teachers and students alike are abuzz with activities, advice and questions.

With so much focus on university, apprenticeships often fall by the wayside or, if they are promoted, are often regarded as an inferior route into the world of work.

This image has to be turned on its head. The benefits of apprenticeships should be understood and communicated school-wide, as should the fact that apprentices can and do go on to achieve degree-level qualifications, if they wish.

Share the goal

It should be everyone’s responsibility within a school to give young people effective career guidance, not just the careers advisers.

Discussing and guiding students in their progression post-school is everyone’s responsibility, school-wide, from teachers to TAs onto support staff.

But in order to speak with confidence about student options, they must be knowledgeable – which starts with staff training and effective resources.

This can be coupled with regular assemblies on the topic of apprenticeships, which could feature local businesses and previous apprentices who have gone on to great things (which leads us to our third and final point…)

Get local businesses involved

Employer-led programmes can create a win-win-win for local businesses, students and teachers alike.

Local businesses attract the best of apprentice talent, students understand their options and have an opportunity to connect with local companies, while teachers are supported in their efforts to get the word out there.

Such programmes could include apprentice fairs, field-trips, Facebook Live Q&As with business leaders, successful apprentice speeches, and taster placements.

Apprenticeships have a lot to offer the young person taking their very first steps out in the real-world. When students are fully informed of their future career path and encouraged in seeing an apprenticeship as a real alternative to university, the chances that they’ll make a choice that’s truly right for them are significantly improved.

And with university debts rising and rising, while average graduate salaries continue to fall, that can only ever be a good thing.

Get in touch to discover how EDLounge can help you promote apprenticeships in your school and give you access to a wide range of vocational qualifications.