Teachers failing to encourage young people to take up apprenticeships

Employers may be missing out on talented apprentices because teachers are failing to encourage young people to take up schemes.

Research released today by the Skills Commission revealed that more than half (56%) of teachers rated their knowledge of apprenticeship schemes as ‘poor’, and the majority value A-levels or equivalent qualifications as a better alternative.

The research comes ahead of a report into apprenticeships by the Skills Commission, which has warned the findings will hamper the government’s aim for one in five young people to become apprentices by 2020.

Andy Powell, chairman of Edge, an education foundation that aims to raise the status of vocational and work-based learning, said the lack of knowledge about apprenticeships by teachers was a “travesty”.

“Tackling the lack of knowledge about apprenticeships among teachers and careers guidance professionals is the key to unlocking the potential of the programme,” he said.

The report also looked at employer engagement, and the need for apprentices to get support and on-going encouragement to progress with their learning.

Although the number of apprentices is rising, only 10% of business actually take them on, according to the research.

The Skills Commission is presenting the findings to MPs later today, and is also lobbying for the government to fully fund apprenticeships for everyone up to the age of 25 – raising the age from 19.

Barry Sheerman, co-chairman of the Skills Commission, said securing quality vocational routes for young people is important during the recession.

“The government must ensure that knowledge of apprenticeships is a critical part of initial teacher training and continuing professional development for teachers,” he said.

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