Parents and young people divided over apprenticeships and university degrees

Parents and their children are divided over whether university or an apprenticeship is the best next step towards to a successful career, new research has revealed. 

The study, commissioned by e-commerce company Amazon, found 86% of parents believe an apprenticeship would provide their child with a good chance of getting a permanent job, compared with 67% for university.  

The YouGov survey also revealed 82% of parents thought an apprenticeship provided good earnings potential, compared with 75% for university education.  

However, students disagree with parents, with 86% believing university provides good earning potential compared with 72% for apprenticeships. University also came out on top for providing a good opportunity to get a permanent job (82%), compared with an apprenticeship (78%). 

The survey by YouGov was conducted online between 5 July – 21 July 2023. To ensure a representative sample, quotas were set during fieldwork. The total sample for the parents (England and Wales) survey is 1,036 parents of children in Years 10-13.  

Results have been weighted to be representative of this group by region and household status. The total sample for the young people (England and Wales) survey is 1,063 young people in Years 10-13. Results have been weighted to be representative of this group by age, gender and region. 

 For those who do choose an apprenticeship as their next career step, Amazon offers schemes in a wide variety of areas including engineering, cyber security, broadcast production, and operations management.

The Amazon apprenticeship scheme launched in 2013 and, to celebrate the 10th anniversary, Amazon is partnering with singer-songwriter Cat Burns and Apprentice Nation, a career development and entertainment platform, to hold a mentoring event to support students as they decide the next step on their career path. More than 200 people will be invited to the event in September where Cat will play an exclusive, one-off gig. 

Cat Burns is a BRIT-nominated, double-platinum-selling South London artist. 

Cat said: “I think it’s really important for people to be proud of themselves, whatever their situation or background. There’s a space for everyone in this life – you just need to be able to carve out your own path. Through my music, I want to keep on inspiring others to create their own journey in life and to shape their future. Everyone has gifts.” 

She added: “Apprentice Nation offers youth the opportunity to do this and I’m excited to be performing with them and also to celebrate ten years of Amazon Apprenticeships.” 

Minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education Robert Halfon said:“It is brilliant to see that apprenticeships are now widely recognised as offering great career prospects, particularly amongst parents.

“Amazon’s decade-long commitment to apprenticeships has been instrumental in this progress, putting apprenticeships at the heart of the business and giving over 5,500 people the opportunity to earn while they learn the skills they need to succeed. 

“Demand for apprenticeships is rising, but these findings show that we must continue our work to ensure that apprenticeships and traditional degrees are on an equal footing.  

“To help more young people make informed decisions about their future, we are working with UCAS to expand their service so students can search and apply for apprenticeships alongside degrees and continuing to promote them through our Get the Jump campaign.” 

Jessica Preece lives in Alsager in Cheshire and is an automated engineering apprentice at Amazon in Warrington. She is entering the final year of her degree apprenticeship, hoping to finish in the summer of 2024.  

When Jessica was finishing her A-levels, she was encouraged to go to university – but she knew that wasn’t for her. She wanted to get on the industry ladder straight away, so she started her apprenticeship with Amazon at 18 years old, straight from sixth form. 

Jessica said: “It was a big jump, going straight into the world of work, but I knew I wanted to be an engineer and just knew university wasn’t for me. I am a very hands-on worker and enjoy that style of learning. If you don’t think you want to go to university, I would highly recommend finding an apprenticeship that fits you and your skill set.” 

 “Once I get my degree and finish my apprenticeship, I would love to step into an automation engineering role. Eventually I would like to explore leadership positions and progress that way. Thankfully within Amazon there is the scope to do that, which is really inspiring as an apprentice looking on.” 

You may also like...