71% of managers believe in the value of non-traditional qualifications

In light of National Apprenticeship Week in the UK, AVADO has announced research that suggests apprenticeships offer the best path to a successful career

Research revealed on behalf of AVADO, the UK’s leading apprenticeship and digital skills provider, has uncovered that both parents and managers across the country see apprenticeships as the most effective route to a thriving career.

The company surveyed 1,000 people, with 68% of parents stating that apprenticeships are a sound career option. In a separate managerial survey, 71% emphasised their belief in the value of non-traditional qualifications, including apprenticeships. Conversely, only 32% of managers and 24% of parents cited a university degree as the most valuable asset when entering the workforce.

“Apprenticeships provide businesses with a wealth of benefits, including increased productivity, improved staff retention and a more diverse and creative workforce,” said Mike Creighton, CEO of AVADO. “It’s great to see that parents and managers see the value of apprenticeships and that traditional education is not the only route to a successful career.”

According to the study, the pursuit of higher education is no guarantee of securing a job post-graduation, since it is not necessarily the first thing recruiters look for in new hires. The qualities rated highest by survey respondents were motivation (62%) and enthusiasm (59%), with intellectual acumen landing fourth place (44%). In similar research from 2017, enthusiasm came out on top, confirming that employers favour candidates who demonstrate drive and ambition.


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One in four of the parents surveyed said their child had considered an apprenticeship, but the research also suggests that schools are falling short in their provision of evidence on apprenticeships or other work experience options; 51% of those surveyed claimed their child had received no apprenticeship advice, compared to 46% who reported that their child had received no guidance on university placements. Twenty-one percent reported receiving no careers advice or support at all.

Despite millions in government backing, public awareness of alternative education remains seemingly unchanged. Regional variations were apparent in the survey, however, with London scoring significantly above average on all forms of career support, while the Southwest showed a preference for apprenticeships over university advice.

Now, much of the conversation has shifted to how apprenticeships can be used to address the UK’s growing digital skills shortage. With the Select Committee Report on digital skills noting that 35% of current jobs could be overtaken by automation in the next 20 years, the nation is facing a shortage of skilled professionals in cybersecurity systems, mobile computing, cloud computing and data analytics. With government focus remaining firmly in the realm of digital skills training and acquisition, apprenticeships could be key to closing the UK’s digital skills gap and innovating the workforce.

Click here to find out more about National Apprenticeship Week

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