According to YouGov survey findings commissioned by the ECA, JTL, and the Joint Industry Board, a mere eight percent of those aged 15-18 in school or college in 2016/2017 are being advised to seek a work-based apprenticeship.
85 percent of students are instead encouraged to go into further or higher education, such as university study, after finishing at school or college. Just three percent were advised to seek a job.
In addition, over one-quarter of students (28 percent) said that they had never even been spoken to about work-based apprenticeships by their school or college.
The findings come as students across the UK have received their GCSE results, with many soon to make decisions about their future career paths.
Alex Meikle, director of employment and skills at leading electrotechnical and engineering services trade association, the ECA, commented: “These findings show that too many young people are effectively being led up the garden path by careers advice in schools, which is significantly out of step with the needs of industry and future employers.
“There is a growing recognition of the value of undertaking apprenticeships, particularly engineering, and the electrotechnical industry will be looking to undertake further work with schools and colleges to encourage greater take-up among students.”
Jon Graham, chief executive of leading apprenticeship training organisation JTL, said: “There are some fantastic opportunities out there for young people to start an apprenticeship and embark on a career in a highly skilled and well paid job. However, schools need to do more to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships, and we look forward to working with them on this agenda.”
Steve Brawley, chief executive of the Joint Industry Board (JIB), added: “An electrical apprenticeship is a rigorous and academically demanding training programme which lasts longer than a first degree, but allows the apprentice to secure skills which are in high demand and to earn while they learn without accruing any student debt.”
Just seven percent of students surveyed were ever encouraged to consider finding a job in a skilled trade. This compares to some 31 percent being encouraged into roles within medicine, education, law or finance. 36 percent were, however, advised to consider careers in engineering.