Teens will choose apprenticeships over university in the future due to debt and career fears


A fifth of teens plan to choose an apprenticeship over university in the future – with many worrying about student debt, no guarantee of a job and delaying the start of their career.
A study of 800 11–18-year-olds and their parents found getting paid while learning and experiencing working life appeals to some youngsters rather than university.
While 27 per cent feel unless the job they want specifically requires a degree, university is not a sensible route to go down.
And 31 per cent believe the rising cost of living means university is no longer such a good idea.
The pros of an apprenticeship, according to teens, are learning new skills (25 per cent), getting practical experience (21 per cent) and adding work experience to their CV (20 per cent).
Despite this, the research commissioned by Virgin Media O2, found almost double the number of parents hope their child will go to university (41 per cent), compared to those who want to see them do an apprenticeship (21 per cent).
Similarly, 32 per cent of parents think a degree will lead to more career success than an apprenticeship scheme (20 per cent).
And 13 per cent go as far as saying they wouldn’t approve if their child chose an apprenticeship over university.
Low pay (28 per cent) and having to balance working and learning (22 per cent) are among the aspects of an apprenticeship which put parents off encouraging their child down that route.
However, 22 per cent agreed not getting into debt is a positive of an apprenticeship, as well as their child feeling independent (20 per cent) and improving employability (22 per cent).
Busting apprenticeship myths
It also emerged only 13 per cent of parents are aware that schemes can lead to a career in cyber security, while just 14 per cent of 11-18-year-olds believe there are apprenticeships in finance.
In comparison, engineering, construction and plumbing are the top areas teens and their parents know apprenticeships are available in.
Karen Handley, head of future careers at Virgin Media O2, which commissioned the study to raise awareness of apprenticeships as a route into work and debunk some of the common myths, such as apprenticeships are limited to certain jobs, said: “Apprenticeships are still a confusing concept to many parents and potential apprentices – but they offer a great alternative to university.
“There is a common misconception in the UK that apprenticeships are only for traditional trades such as plumbing or hairdressing, but in actual fact, there are many opportunities available in fields as broad as cyber security, marketing and IT.
“What’s more, with roles based nationwide, many offered on a permanent basis, and in some cases, starting salaries as high as £30k, there’s never been a better time to consider an apprenticeship.”
The study also found some youngsters are put off apprenticeships due to their impression of low pay (29 per cent) and a potential age gap with other workers (19 per cent).
But being left in debt (28 per cent) and waiting three or more years to get a job (20 per cent) makes university less appealing.
The job areas 11-18-year-olds are most keen to go into were found to be engineering, IT or digital roles and creative and design positions.
Upon reflection, 19 per cent of parents wish apprenticeships had been an option when they were younger and 31 per cent of them agreed going to university is no guarantee of a job.
More than a quarter (26 per cent) of mums and dads also think it’s important for their child to gain work experience as early as they can.
A fifth (22 per cent) of students polled via OnePoll admitted what their parents think is a big factor when choosing what to do after school or college.
Karen Handley added: “With A-Level results day this week, it’s important we bust the myths that surround apprenticeship schemes.
“It’s worrying that a quarter of 11-18-year-olds don’t think schools teach them enough about the schemes, as many youngsters could be much better suited to them than further studying.
“Not everyone learns best by being solely in a classroom and the opportunity to learn on the job and get paid too can often be the key to a fulfilling, long lasting career.”

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