A-Level students from disadvantaged backgrounds risk missing out on 'free' degree apprenticeships

  • Affluent parents 2.5 times more likely than less well-off to know about degree apprenticeship routes at university
  • Low awareness of ‘earn as you learn’ degree apprenticeships will leave behind less privileged school leavers
  • Findings follow government report revealing widening gulf between attainment of richest and poorest students in higher education
  • Warning comes as 300,000 students set to receive A-Level results

A-Level students from less privileged backgrounds are at risk of missing out on places on the new breed of ‘earn as you learn’ degree apprenticeships, according to new research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

One in four (26 per cent) of the parents from the most highly-educated and highest paid social groups are familiar with degree apprenticeships compared to just one in 10 (10 per cent) of parents from lower socio-economic bands.

CMI’s survey of 1,004 UK parents of 11-18-year old children reveals that overall parental awareness of degree apprenticeships has grown from 13 per cent in 2016 to 20 per cent in 2017.

However, the gap in awareness between parents from different social groups adds to concerns raised by recent Department for Education data showing a growing gap between the higher educational attainment of school leavers from affluent and less privileged backgrounds.

However, the gap in awareness between parents from different social groups adds to concerns raised by recent Department for Education data showing a growing gap between the higher educational attainment of school leavers from affluent and less privileged backgrounds.

Petra Wilton, CMI’s director of strategy and one of the architects of the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, says:

Degree apprenticeships are now at risk of becoming the preserve of the privileged. Parents are the biggest influence on their children’s career decisions, so a lack of parental knowledge will deprive promising students from all backgrounds of places on degree apprenticeships. We’re now in danger of higher apprenticeships quickly transforming from being perceived as an alternative route into employment for the less able, to being a highly attractive option out of reach to all but the elite. Schools and employers need to work with parents to raise awareness, challenge perceptions and help all young people to consider this new route to a degree and employment.

Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship was launched in 2015 and already has more than 500 enrolled students from across all backgrounds. The Trailblazer degree-level apprenticeship was developed by a group of more than 30 leading employers, including Serco, Nestle and Barclays, and supported by CMI. Universities UK has tipped Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship to become the most subscribed of the new breed of degree-level apprenticeships created under the Government’s Trailblazer scheme.

Lady Cobham, director-general of The 5% club, an organisation dedicated to encouraging employers to offer apprenticeships, said:

This excellent research demonstrates how important good careers advice is for young people. Apprenticeships provide a huge range of qualifications and career opportunities. Students are missing out on the chance to enter the world of work, get qualified and be paid at the same time. This lack of knowledge is detrimental to developing the skills we need to meet the UK’s current shortage and make our economy successful.

CMI’s survey of parents also revealed that for those in the know, seven in 10 (69 per cent) believe that degree apprenticeships represent better value for money than the traditional university route.

When asked if they would consider taking a degree apprenticeship if they were 18 again, four in five (83 per cent) agreed they would. Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) believe a qualification from a professional body would make a student more employable when their child finishes their degree.

Wilton adds:

For too many A-Level students about to leave school, the prospect of huge student debt means that traditional university routes are no longer an option. The new Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship gives young people a way to earn as they learn, sidestep tuition fees, and to gain both a degree and professional qualification – and then land a job at the end of their studies. When aware of this option, parents clearly support this route, so we need to ensure that no school leaver misses out regardless of their background.

For more information on Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, visit: www.managers.org.uk/management-apprenticeships

Twitter: @cmi_managers #MgtApprentices

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Further information:

For further information, interviews or case studies please contact CMI's Press Team on:

Matt Jamieson or Jack Crone at Teamspirit Public Relations on 0207 360 7877 or cmi@teamspiritpr.com

About CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leaderships, dedicated to improving managers' skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalents, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earning potential and improves workplace performance. We have been registered as an apprentice assessment organisation by the Skills Funding Agency.

CMI has led the way in developing a suite of trailblazing management apprenticeships with a 40-strong group of employers. These start from Level 3 (team leader) and Level 5 (operations manager) through to Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. The Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship gives employers the option to upskill up to executive and C-suite level. CMI is a Skills Funding Agency-registered apprentice assessment organisation.

We provide employers and individual managers with access to the latest management thinking and with practical online support that helps them to embrace change, create high-performing teams and keep ahead of the curve.

With a member community of more than 157,000 managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers to build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.