School leavers in the dark over which firms offer apprenticeships

More than half of Scottish school leavers don’t know which employers offer apprenticeships

School leavers could be missing out on apprenticeship opportunities due to a communication breakdown on careers information, according to new research by Prudential.
Prudential’s nationwide study among 16-18 year olds in Scotland found that half (50%) admit to not knowing about apprenticeship opportunities and 67% do not know which employers offer apprenticeships.
Many are put off by the belief that apprenticeships are focused on manual labour and that opportunities for girls are limited to supposedly “traditional” female careers – 62 per cent believe most apprenticeships involve manual labour and 55 per cent believe opportunities for girls are mainly in nursing, health and beauty and childcare.
The research – released as Scottish Apprenticeship Week is launched to celebrate the success of apprenticeships – highlights changing school leaver attitudes on apprenticeships as an alternative to university. Around 35 per cent disagree that apprenticeships should be seen as second best to university, while nearly one in three (28 per cent) disagree that attending university is more likely to mean career success.
But a communication problem persists – a quarter of students (25 per cent) in the study say that either the information on apprenticeships they received was poor or that they received no information at all.
Simon Moffatt, human resources director at Prudential’s UK insurance business, said: “Scottish Apprenticeship Week is about celebrating the success of apprenticeships. In the past decade participation across the UK has hit record levels with 899,9402 funded apprentices in the 2015/16 academic year.
“However the message on the wide range of opportunities available, with more than 1,500 job roles across a range of 170 industries on offer throughout the UK3 is not getting through with too many school leavers not being aware of the career options available.”
Prudential says it’s committed to supporting apprenticeships. Its 2017 apprenticeship programme  which will create opportunities for up to 22 young people who will be paid the National Living Wage is the latest stage of the company’s £4.1 million investment in its scheme over a four-year period.
The research also revealed many positive findings, with 25 per cent of students aged 16-18 having considered taking an apprenticeship instead of their chosen career path. Of those who had taken an apprenticeship, the most common reasons were that the practical skills and work experience would be more valuable than going to university or into full-time employment (40 percent) and the concern that getting a degree wouldn’t necessarily lead to getting a good job (20 per cent).
The Prudential apprenticeship programme goes beyond just offering employment. The aim is to arm young people with the qualifications, knowledge and life skills needed to embark on a successful career in whichever field they choose.
The programme offers placements in a wide range of roles in the company, including within its IT, HR, customer services, operations, sales support, distribution, financial planning and marketing departments. Positions are available within Prudential’s Stirling, Reading and London offices.
To date, Prudential has recruited over 178 young people to its high quality, work-based training programme, which gives all apprentices the opportunity to achieve a recognised vocational qualification as well as gaining important work-based skills. It is based on a 13 month training contract, with all apprentices being paid the National Living Wage.