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Article Source: IMechE

Apprenticeships are increasingly seen as a “viable alternative” to degrees, an IMechE expert has said, after a survey showed positive public attitudes to the career route.

The IMechE poll of more than 2,000 people found 58% believe skilled apprenticeships offer more secure job prospects than a university education.

The news comes after the government announced plans for a technical education system “on par” with the UK’s academic system and a 59% decline in apprentices taking trainee posts since the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April.

Despite the positive view of apprenticeships, the survey revealed concerns over the lack of information about technical and vocational career paths that schools offer. Fifty-six per cent of those polled believe school careers advice is not adequate enough to enable students to make informed decisions about their futures, with only 18% believing schools offer the right advice.

“Apprenticeships are increasingly being seen as a viable alternative to the well-trodden route of a university education, particularly given the financial burden of gaining a degree,” said IMechE head of education and skills Peter Finegold. “But much more needs to be done to champion the opportunities that vocational careers can offer and overcome the cultural prejudices that parents might have.”

He added: “For those students who do not have engineers in their family, or who come from parts of the country without engineering heritage, we need to embed within their schooling experience how fulfilling engineering can be and broaden their exposure to what engineers do on a day-to-day basis, and the creative and conceptual skills required.”

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