A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is calling for lower level apprenticeships to be replaced by a pre-apprenticeship programme that will address 16 to 18 year olds’ “distinct needs”.
There are currently 270,000 young people in level 2 vocational courses (GCSE or equivalent), with 90,000 in apprenticeships. Young people that leave full-time education with a level 2 qualification have a 70% employment rate, compared to 90% of their peers with level 3 (A-Level) or higher education.
Only 39% of students pursuing a level 2 qualification at the age of 17 moved on to a level 3 course, suggesting it is harder for them to move up the skills ladder.
The statement comes as universities are awarded £4.5million to develop 5,200 degree level apprenticeships from September.
While a higher quality of apprenticeship programme will be embraced by business, there remains scepticism whether the plan will make a complicated system more accessible for both young people and business.
David Allison, Founder and CEO of GetMyFirstJob.co.uk said: “There is a real need to help young people enter the most appropriate educational route for them. A pre-apprenticeship programme is one idea. As the existing Traineeship programme has demonstrated, however, it will not solve the problem on its own.
“What is really needed is a more coherent and compelling argument for young people and their advisers to enter any form of vocational programme or apprenticeship. The progression that is achieved by many young people both in the workplace and onto Higher and Degree Apprenticeships offers many benefits over the traditional purely academic route, but is not widely promoted.”