Stigma stops top students taking vocational courses

Too many teenagers are being pushed into doing A-levels because of the “second-class” status of vocational qualifications, the CBI has warned.

Launching a survey on modern apprenticeships, the CBI’s director of human resources, John Cridland, called for reforms to boost completion rates and raise the quality of training.

The survey of 100 firms looked at why apprentices do not complete their training. It found that of those apprentices who were unsuccessful, 85 per cent left before completing the training.

Fifty-five per cent were unsuitable or lacked ability, while 30 per cent did not wish to complete all parts of the training.

Cridland said, “Only around a third of young people on modern apprenticeships actually complete their training to get their NVQ Level 3. The problem is that not enough bright young people are going on to the scheme.

“Careers guidance in schools is inadequate so many young people do not know what apprenticeships can offer them.

“Many of those who remain in full-time education could achieve far more – and have better prospects – if they were on an apprenticeship.”

The survey also found 63 per cent of respondents supported an entrance requirement for Modern Apprenticeships such as four GCSE passes at grades A to C.

A move to fund incentives for employers to encourage apprentices to finish their training was also supported by 64 per cent.

A further 78 per cent are in favour of a graduation ceremony for successful apprentices.

Cridland added, “Although the drop-out rates from Modern Apprenticeships are too high, there are many examples of high quality schemes.

“We now need to make sure that successful training schemes are adopted by all employers so that we create a system of work-based training for young people in the UK to rival that in Germany and other competitors.”

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