More than three quarters of young people say going on an apprenticeship improved their skills and career prospects while four in five would recommend them to others, according to new research from YMCA.
Speaking as part of the youth charity’s Work in Progress report – released today ahead of the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy that will help secure funding for three million apprenticeship starts over the course of this Parliament – young people overwhelmingly backed the benefits of a vocational route into work.
In fact, almost four in five young people (79%) said they were offered a job at the end of their apprenticeship while more than three quarters said it helped to improve their responsibilities (77%), satisfaction (78%) and salary (81%) when in the workplace.
However, despite the positive prospects they afford, young people also highlighted a number of concerns around apprenticeships, including the perception of them as a second class route to work with less than one in four (22%) receiving information on them from teachers and lecturers.
Young people also spoke of the difficulties they had covering basic living costs while on the schemes as well as coping with work-study balance. YMCA found that many had no choice but to study at home and on weekends during their apprenticeship due to a lack of time in core working hours.
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of the National Council of YMCAs in England and Wales, said:
“Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to earn while they learn the necessary skills needed for today’s job market and our findings are proof that they are a positive experience for the majority.
“Not only do they prepare young people for the workplace but they also provide effective routes into employment with almost 80% of respondents to our research being offered a job at the end of their apprenticeship.
“However, while we welcome the Government’s focus on investing in the value of apprenticeships, we believe there is still room for improvement.
“Young people need better careers advice in schools to open up further options to them, a more realistic work-study balance that protects them from exploitation and improved support from employers to help them afford basic living costs. By putting these provisions in place, more young people will rightfully see apprenticeships as the progressive option our research has proven them to be.”
Arron, 21, from Nottingham, is currently doing an apprenticeship in rail infrastructure. He said:
“A lot of young people aren’t bothered about apprenticeships; they believe that apprenticeships are useless. [But] I have done the apprenticeship and I went to college and, in my opinion, you benefit and learn a lot more from an apprenticeship.”
Catherine, 18, from Swansea, said:
“In school, it was like you had to go to college and you had to go to university. Apprenticeships were seen for the people who didn’t have brains to go and do them. I don’t think that’s right, it’s just a different skill.”
More than 400 young people with experience of apprenticeships aged 16 to 26 years old and from across England and Wales fed into Work in Progress. Other findings include:
- Almost two thirds of young people (63%) were left to search the internet to find out about apprenticeships.
- More than a third of young people (34%) felt more could be done to improve the amount of support and advice available prior to undertaking an apprenticeship.
- A third of former apprentices (34%) said they would have liked to have spent more time studying while almost a quarter (24%) said they found it difficult to balance study and work elements of their apprenticeships.
- Just over one third of young people (35%) said the salary they received while on an apprenticeship was enough to cover basic living costs.
For more information or to request an interview with a YMCA representative, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7186 9543.
Notes to editors
The research was commissioned by YMCA, with the fieldwork conducted by specialist youth research agency – YouthSight. The fieldwork consisted of more than 400 in-depth interviews with young people aged between 16 and 26 years old who had previously been on an apprenticeship or who were currently on one. The fieldwork was carried out in England and Wales between November 2016 and March 2017.
YMCA in England and Wales
- YMCA in England and Wales is made up of 116 member YMCAs working to ensure young people have opportunities to thrive and contribute positively to their communities.
- YMCA operates in almost 740 different communities across England and Wales impacting upon the lives of more than 630,000 people every year.
- YMCA provides a home to more than 18,000 people experiencing homelessness each year making us largest voluntary sector provider of supported housing for young people in England and Wales.
- YMCA in England and Wales enables more than 68,000 people every year to engage in education and training to enable them to improve their opportunities in the job market.
- Almost 3,700 people train through YMCA apprenticeships each year.
- With 60 gyms and 125,000 people engaged in our health and wellbeing services, YMCA is the largest voluntary sector provider of services promoting physical activity in England and Wales.
- YMCA provides mental health advice and counselling for more than 17,000 young people every year.
Download our apprenticeships research report Work in Progress
Find out about Carlie’s apprenticeship journey