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Vocational training call

Graduates may have opted for an apprenticeship

Many young feel advice is lacking

A staff development group is calling for more focus on vocational training after a survey revealed nearly two-thirds of Scottish graduates would have considered doing an apprenticeship instead of a degree.

Official figures show a 39% decrease in young Scots aged 16-19 starting a modern apprenticeship in 2020/21 compared with 2019/20.  

Just 6% received support to apply for an apprenticeship while at school. By comparison, 68% received support on their educational and academic options such as applying for university or college.  

The new report from the The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) titled Youth employment in the UK, explores the extent to which young people understand and are prepared for the world of work – and their career satisfaction to date. Over 2,000 young people aged 18 to 30 were surveyed by YouGov as part of the research, with 188 respondents from Scotland.

The survey also found that

  • Almost half (48%) believe that the pandemic has somewhat harmed their long-term career prospects. 
  • A third (33%) believe that their career progression to date has not met their expectations.  
  • Over a third (36%) think they are over-qualified for their role. 

In response to the findings, the CIPD is calling for careers advice in schools to give equal focus to vocational and academic routes into employment.

It is also shining a spotlight on apprenticeships as part of its One Million Chances campaign. Its aim is to create a million opportunities for young people in the world of work through a range of different pathways, including apprenticeships. 

Lee Ann Panglea, head of the CIPD in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the professional body for HR and people development, said:  “Good careers advice and guidance can make a huge difference to young people’s working lives.

“We have seen many positive developments in Scotland’s careers system in recent years.

“However, as our research shows, more needs to be done to ensure young people can make an informed decision about what route is going to give them the best chance of having a long and fulfilling career.  

“We want both employers and the Scottish Government to step up to better prepare the next generation for the world of work and smooth the transition from school to the workplace.

“Employers can offer more work experience and placements and develop closer links with local schools through DYW, while the Government will need to act fast on the upcoming Careers Services review recommendations.”

See also:

Interview: Margaret Cook, principal of Perth College discusses the challenges of preparing for the new world of work



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