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Poll highlights apprenticeships overlooked in careers advice lessons

22 October 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Commenting on polling commissioned by the TES that has found only a quarter of young people were told about apprenticeships in their career lessons at school, UCU today called for investment in proper information, advice and guidance systems for school-leavers.

According to the Barclays LifeSkills Youth Barometer, just a quarter (26.1%) of young people aged 14-25 said they received information about apprenticeships in their career lessons at school.

The survey of 2,000 young people also found that more than one in 10 (11.8%) respondents received no career guidance at all. While 65.2% were told about going to university and 61.7 per cent received information about taking A-levels, a significantly smaller number found out about non-academic routes into work. Less than a fifth (16.5%) were taught about NVQs and other vocational qualifications, with just 8.8% receiving information about becoming an entrepreneur.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'At the same time as the government is pushing for a big increase in apprenticeships, they're being overlooked by school-leavers because successive governments have seen careers advice as an easy target for cuts.

'Now careers advice has been thrust on to hard-pressed schoolteachers who want to do their best but often lack the appropriate time and resources to carry out this crucial function which has far-reaching implications on their pupils' lives.

'The fact that there has been continual change in vocational qualifications, including apprenticeships, has made it even harder for teachers to make pupils aware of the full range of options available them.

'Instead of scapegoating teachers, there needs to be proper investment in information, advice and guidance systems that connect colleges and employers with schools so we can put school-leavers in a position where they can make informed choices about their futures, and that includes considering the full range of vocational qualifications, including apprenticeships.'


Three-quarters of students not told about apprenticeships by their schools, TES