Last updated: 19.08.14

Employers 'want UCAS-style option maps' for apprenticeships

A UCAS-style options map is needed to regulate apprenticeships, according to employers. 

Liz Noble, supervising associate of Ernst & Young’s schools and undergraduate recruitment, was among those to call for reform at a panel debate on 'debunking apprenticeship myths' held earlier this week (August 13th).

She explained the UCAS system means there is a centralised point where students know they can access all of the necessary information, but there is no comparison for apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are growing in popularity, but many organisations have been holding back as they do not understand the benefits of this type of training and learning on the job.

Ms Noble said: "An apprenticeship lasts five years rather than a three-year graduate programme, and therefore the company is guaranteed to have that young person in their company for a longer period of time through the scheme itself."

Despite the progress that has been made in signing young people up to apprenticeships, many students and parents remain unconvinced over whether this is the right route for them to take. Ms Noble stated that one way to address concerns could be for employers to go into schools to educate individuals about the benefits of apprenticeships, many of which also offer qualifications.

Jenny Fraenzel, student recruitment adviser at accountancy firm BDO, said: "Everybody who comes on our apprenticeship scheme gets two qualifications, an ACA accountancy qualification and a level 7 apprenticeship. We are looking for people who are proactive and who want to join careers starting at 18 or 19 years old straight from school."

Alice Bercher, who is on the Higher Apprenticeship scheme at Jaguar Land Rover, explained apprenticeships can often feel like a "whole world that people don't know exists". But as school-leavers can earn as much as £16,000 on an apprenticeship, while they continue to develop their skills, perhaps through e-learning, it is becoming an increasingly popular route.

Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on their level and there are three available levels to students in the UK - Intermediate, Advanced and Higher.