A fifth of young people fear apprenticeships will leave them trapped in an industry for life

  • Emma Finamore
  • Last updated 22 Feb 2016

Almost 90% also worry that wages will be too low. 


New research has revealed that more than one in five young people believe an apprenticeship means a job for life; and not in a good way.

A huge 88% said they also worried wages would be too low.

The study, conducted by Positive Outcomes – a training and apprenticeships provider – questioned almost 230 young adults (aged 16-24) as part of research ahead of National Apprenticeship Week 2016.

22% of respondents said they feared that an apprenticeship would set them on a career path that they’d have to stick with for life.

Kelly Ball, joint managing directing of Positive Outcomes, said: “A big element holding apprenticeships back from becoming the go-to educational career route is the misconceptions that surround them.

“Our research indicated a fifth of prospective apprentices believed their career path was set in stone were they to take up an apprenticeship. This certainly suggests that work needs to be done to dispel these myths!”

Respondents were asked: “Why do you think young adults are put off by the idea of doing an apprenticeship?” and asked to select from a list of potential options, ticking all that applied.

In addition to the 22% who thought doing an apprenticeship meant they had to work in that industry for life, the study also revealed that 88% felt “wages were too low”.

Over 40% were concerned apprenticeships “aren’t seen as a proper job”, while 30% assumed they’d be “earning more after going to university” than through doing an apprenticeship.

Ball said: “Apprenticeships have long been associated with the stigma of poor wages, and it’s clear that stigma is still firmly in place. People need to realise though that in 2016, this simply isn’t the case.

“Many apprenticeship providers are keen to bring in the right talent at a young age in order to nurture their abilities. You’ll often find employers are willing to pay more in a competitive marketplace. It’s also important to bear in mind there are no associated costs with an apprenticeship – you are literally paid to learn, so elements such as university tuition fees aren’t a factor.

“Competition for graduate jobs is fierce, but apprentices have invaluable practical experience which simply can’t be replicated in any other learning environment.”

Ball concluded: “To come back to our opening statistic though, the fact one in five think doing an apprenticeship pigeon holes you for life is a worrying point. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Apprenticeships provide you with fantastic transferable skills and unparalleled business experience. What you learn as an apprentice will put you in good stead for the rest of your career, whatever that happens to be.”

Positive Outcomes is a national training provider specialising in government-funded apprenticeships, and funded training for those already in employment and corporate training.


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