Poor careers advice threatens apprenticeships

The
Government’s drive to increase the number of young people pursuing Modern
Apprenticeships is under threat because of the continuing poor quality of
careers advice and guidance, a survey of first year apprentices has shown.

According
to the survey, published by the EEF (the manufacturers organisation) and Semta
(the sector skills body for engineering and manufacturing), two-thirds of
respondents were advised by their teachers to remain in full-time education,
rather than choose Modern Apprenticeships.

The
research found only one in five were advised to apply for apprenticeships, 83
per cent were given little or no information on apprenticeships, and a third
believed the advice they were given was based on what was best for the school,
rather than what was best for them as individuals.

EEF
director of education and skills, Ian Peters, said: “Without a step change in
the quality of careers advice, young people will continue to believe that
apprenticeships are for the disaffected and low achievers only, and the
Government will fail to encourage more young people into vocational education.”

Philip
Whiteman, acting chief executive of Semta, said: “Shortages of vocational
skills are one of the major reasons for poor levels of productivity in the UK,
which can only be addressed by improving the quality of young people entering
apprenticeships. There is an urgent need to provide substantially increased
resources so we can dispel once and for all the poor image of vocational
education.”

By Michael Millar

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