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Apprentices 'failed by careers advice'

30 August 2013

Latest research by the National Union of Students has revealed clear failings in the provision of careers advice from schools, colleges and universities about apprenticeships.

Although the government has recently campaigned to promote apprenticeship schemes and vocational courses, almost 50% of respondents reported their careers advice to have been of a poor standard. 20% of those working as apprentices have never received advice from a careers service, and a whopping 50% of university students have never even been presented with apprenticeship opportunities available to them.

Those young people who have managed to find information about apprenticeships opportunities are further put off the idea by the fact that minimum wage for apprentices is a mere £2.65 per hour. This is less than half the national minimum wage for those aged over 21 at £6.91.

Despite this, 20% of higher education students still believe that taking up an apprenticeship is a great way of getting work experience, and would consider it as an option in the future.

NUS president Toni Pearce commented from the student media summit: 'Education has changed, and the old route that ends with a three year full time undergraduate degree no longer needs to be norm. The lack of proper careers advice about the available study options and pathways to work is failing young people. Students need the information and tools to thrive, whatever their learning journey. We need a no holds barred review of information, advice and guidance to ensure it is fit for purpose, fit for the twenty-first century and fit the realities of students’ lives.'

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