Ambitious parents encourage students to take a closer look at apprenticeships

A survey of parents of 11-18 year olds commissioned by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the professional body for management and leadership, has found that parents are moving away from encouraging their children to take the traditional university route in favour of apprenticeships.


As A-Level students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland collect their results this Thursday, CMI’s survey of over 1,000 parents reveals that 57% agree that an apprenticeship provides a better chance of getting a good job than going to university. As a result, almost half (49%) of parents would encourage their child to apply for an apprenticeship rather than applying to university for an academic-only course.



Parents’ views are vital, as previous CMI research shows that 77% of young people say that parents are their number one source of advice when leaving school.(1)


Parents’ positive view of apprenticeships was also reinforced by their concern at the growing cost of university education. 52% are put off recommending university due to the cost, with only 21 percent saying they were not concerned.


39% of parents’ surveyed believe employers are not providing enough apprenticeships.


Degree Apprenticeships


Degree apprenticeships, which combine a university degree with paid on-the-job experience, combat parents’ concerns about their children being equipped for the world of work straight out of university.


CMI’s survey reveals that overall parental awareness of Degree apprenticeships has increased to 32% in 2018, up from 13% in 2016 and 20% in 2017. Over half (54%) state they are the best value for money for young people starting their studies in 2018.


Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy at CMI, said:


“The results of our survey are clear: awareness of degree apprenticeships has grown at pace in recent years with most parents now rating a degree apprenticeship at a blue chip corporate over a traditional university degree. 

Degree apprenticeships are transforming how we perceive apprenticeships and vocational education. They have the potential to become that long sought for vocational gold standard that the UK so desperately needs.

If Ministers are serious about building the profile and quality of apprenticeships in England, then degree apprenticeships show the way. They are transforming young people’s lives and providing great opportunities for those students for whom traditional routes are considered out of reach.

We remain concerned that despite the rhetoric the current system is still not employer-led. If Ministers will not listen to businesses, then I hope they will listen carefully to what parents are saying.”


Integrating employability and learning


The survey also showed parents’ overall desire for universities and employers to boost students’ employability skills.


70% of parents believe that to meet the needs of employers, all university students should have the opportunity to develop management, enterprise and leadership skills.


72% say that employers should pay the costs of training apprentices and paying their wages while a smaller sample of 500, showed that parents also believe employers need to do more, with 75% believing that big employers should, by law, have to take on apprentices.


In recent years the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (or TEF) has broadened its focus to take into account graduate employability as well as pure academic grades. With universities now required to deliver on graduate employment, they are working with organisations like the CMI to incorporate management and leadership skills, as well as work experience, by offering degree apprenticeships or dual-accredited courses.


CMI partners with 125 universities in the UK to help meet this requirement and equip students with the skills employers need. Companies offering Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeships include Barclays, Boots, Nestle, Unilever, BBC and United Utilities.


More than 10,000 workers are currently enrolled on CMI management apprenticeships in the UK.


For more information on CMI’s apprenticeships, visit:


*Research –

Author: Editorial Team

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