Parents favour Degree Apprenticeships ahead of Oxbridge education, finds survey
A recent survey conducted by Populus for the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has revealed parental attitudes towards apprenticeships have become more favourable over the last five years.
The company states the new Degree Apprenticeships combine the strengths of higher and vocational education to offer apprentices the best of all worlds through a triple guarantee of a degree, on-the-job experience and professional development through to Chartered status.
The introduction and standard of the new Degree Apprenticeships has meant that 62% of parents would prefer their child to take one, while a mere 17% favoured a standalone degree. Parental pride in children achieving professional Chartered status is being seen as boosting the standing of the new Degree Apprenticeships, Populus says.
The rising cost of university education and competitive job market, alongside an ongoing skills shortage, are driving this interest in new and combined education pathways. Parents are becoming more mindful of long-term employment prospects and are recognising the significant benefits their child would gain from taking a Degree Apprenticeship. 81% of parents now believe that a Degree Apprenticeship would provide their child with a better chance of getting a job than a traditional university degree, with 83% admitting they would consider taking a Degree Apprenticeship themselves if they were in their child’s shoes.
Developed in partnership with some of the UK’s top employers and business schools, the new Degree Apprenticeship is now offered by major companies such as Serco, Nestle and Barclays, in association with CMI. This has resulted in 61% of parents favouring a Degree Apprenticeship with a major company such as M&S or Rolls-Royce over a traditional degree from Oxbridge, chosen by 39%.
Despite the high levels of support and approval from parents as well as backing from the Prime Minister David Cameron, however, only 13% were aware of these Degree Apprenticeships. Less than half of parents felt confident that they knew where to find information about apprenticeships to offer their child the best advice. Parents lack confidence in the advice of teachers, who are seen as top influencer on children’s education decisions, with less than half of parents trusting them to promote apprenticeships ahead of traditional degrees. Nonetheless, 77% believe they should be equally promoted.
Many parents also believe employers could be doing more to support young people, with only 16% agreeing employers are doing enough to help those entering the workplace. Parents want to see more employers contributing to the funding of the UK’s workforce, with 70% agreeing that big employers should take on apprentices by law and 76% calling for them to pay for their training and wages. Subsequently, 72% of parents support the Government’s decision to introduce the Apprenticeship Levy.
The Apprenticeship Levy, being introduced by the Government to address this issue, will force employers paying wage bills over £3m to contribute 0.5% of this to fund apprenticeships.
The value of this investment for employers is clear, Populus believes, with separate research showing that 71% of apprentices remain with the same employer after joining and businesses employing apprentices increase their productivity by £214 per week on average.
Ann Francke, CEO at CMI, commented, “Savvy parents are recognising the importance of their children getting their foot on the career ladder at an early age. On-the-job experience and a pathway to professional status are recognised as a surer route to future success than the jobs lottery that many graduates face today.
“Businesses disputing the need to invest in professional training need to realise that the true tax on jobs is the low productivity of managers already in the workplace. Investment in the next generation of managers has been shown to be more than repaid by the productivity gains they deliver. Degree Apprenticeships will create a generation of true professionals capable of delivering real returns to their employers.”
Mike Thompson, head of Barclays’ Apprenticeship Programme, said, “Apprenticeships provide apprentices with rich, on-the-job experiences that they can’t get simply going through the normal university pathway. It’s very difficult to replicate the experiences that you get in the workplace in the classroom and every day, from such a young age, our apprentices are learning how to lead people.”