Hertfordshire Careers Hub has once again partnered with Amazing Apprenticeships to deliver its Apprenticeship Survey for 2023, which reveals new insights into the perceptions held by local teachers and parent/carers of apprenticeships versus traditional career pathways.
With the parent/carer survey now in its fifth year, the findings help track trends over time to inform countywide apprenticeship and skills strategies.
This year, 3,225 parents/carers responded to the survey from over 50 schools, with 70% of respondents saying they would recommend an apprenticeship to their child, up 6% from 2022. However, only 1 in 10 were confident in supporting their child to search and apply for an apprenticeship, compared to 4 in 10 for UCAS applications.
While parents/carers recognise the benefits of apprenticeships – namely enabling their children to gain relevant skills, workplace experience, and the chance to earn a salary while learning – the perception that employers value apprentices less than graduates continues to endure.
All schools that generated over 50 responses received a bespoke report to support their apprenticeship promotion strategy.
Jo Zanetti, Careers Leader at Parmiter’s School, Watford, said: “Our report has highlighted that our younger students were less confident about apprenticeships than those in higher year groups. We are working on better engaging with these students and their parents/carers, as it is critical that they are aware of all their options in Key Stage 3 before they select their GCSE subjects. It was also fascinating to see the career routes that parents/carers felt their children wanted to go into.”
The teacher survey, in its second year, generated over 600 responses – a 30% increase from 2022 – revealing that 90% have regular conversations with students about careers, positively reflecting the growing prominence of careers education in schools.
However, the survey highlighted significant gaps in teachers’ knowledge of post-16 options, with 82% saying they felt confident discussing university compared to just 27% for apprenticeships and 7% for T Levels. Teachers also reported knowledge gaps around local employers linked to their subject areas and where to find labour market information.
Hertfordshire Careers Hub will now take forward the recommendations aggregated by the surveys, with four key actions to:
Caroline Cartwright, Head of Skills at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “Apprenticeships offer a growing route to employment and it is encouraging to see the positive year-on-year trend among parents and carers in recommending this pathway to their children.
“Our Careers Hub continues to play a vital role in building on existing apprenticeship awareness to dispel misconceptions and encourage their take-up, while empowering teachers with the confidence to discuss local employers and the apprenticeships they offer via our new series of Teacher Employer Encounter events. Through our Hertfordshire Opportunities Programme, we are also supporting SMEs to invest in skills for the future to help accelerate business growth, which in turn provides valuable jobs and upskilling opportunities for local people.”
Anna Morrison CBE, Director of Amazing Apprenticeships, said: “These annual surveys provide crucial insight into the confidence and awareness levels of teachers, parents and carers about apprenticeships and technical education. It’s fantastic to see an upward swing in parental confidence returning around apprenticeships, but we’ve clearly also got a lot of work to do in our county. This year’s results also give us an opportunity to re-think the ways that we are reaching key influencers, and to ensure that they feel knowledgeable and confident when advising their young people.”
In response to the survey, Hertfordshire Careers Hub will be hosting its virtual careers fair for parents and carers on 24th January 2024, which will feature over 40 exhibitors, with over 400 delegates already registered to attend.
The event will give parents a chance to interact with local employers and education providers, enabling them to confidently help their children to explore all the career pathways that are open to them, including apprenticeships, technical and vocational routes.
Apprenticeships offer a growing route to employment and it is encouraging to see the positive year-on-year trend among parents and carers in recommending this pathway to their children.