The key influencers of young people making decisions about their choices after school are unaware of all the options available, with almost 1/3 of parents or carers unaware that their son or daughter can apply to degree apprenticeships alongside their university application.
Posted Thu 11 February 2021 - 00:01

More than 1,200 parents and carers responded to a UCAS survey last month as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2021 sharing their perceptions of apprenticeships and the opportunities they can offer.

Just over half (54%) of parents said their son or daughter had considered an apprenticeship instead of a traditional university degree. Of those not considering an apprenticeship, half of them indicated that they did not know enough to make an informed decision. Therefore there is a need for all those who support young people in navigating their future steps to understand the arrays of pathways available.

Multinational and local employers across a variety of sectors offer apprenticeship opportunities for students to learn skills for the modern workplace, equipping them with excellent experience for future careers, while also studying at university or college and getting paid.

Analysis of students using UCAS’ apprenticeship service, ‘Career Finder’, shows the most popular degree apprenticeships are in business, software development and accountancy, alongside becoming a police constable or a nurse through an apprenticeship. These roles are also reflected in the top search terms with strong interest also shown for law, nursing, engineering, media, and marketing. These searches also mirror the most common terms used by students looking for traditional undergraduate degrees, showing the strong demand for learning the skills for these fields in multiple ways.

During last year’s National Apprenticeship Week, over 34,000 jobs were viewed on UCAS’ Career Finder, resulting in more than 6,500 applications to organisations such as Capgemini, Google and Unilever. This year, an HM Treasury apprenticeship advertised through UCAS attracted hundreds of applications.

Clare Marchant, UCAS Chief Executive, said: “Apprenticeships are a parallel option for students as a different pathway to an undergraduate course, and offer an excellent and engaging way for students to learn the skills needed to be successful in some of the most exciting careers available today.

“We need to be providing parents and carers with clearer information on the benefits of studying and working to achieve a qualification that’s on par with a traditional degree though. We know they’ll be supporting their son or daughter on whichever pathway is best for them, but being fully informed is crucial to making those decisions.

“UCAS’s current Career Finder and apprenticeships hub give us a great foundation to build on. We want students and their families to instinctively come to UCAS so they can take the right steps for their own future, whether that leads to an apprenticeship, traditional three-year undergraduate degree or stepping into the workplace.”

As part of National Apprenticeships Week, and in partnership with Debate Mate, UCAS will be hosting a debate live on Facebook at 5pm tonight (Thursday 11 February) featuring young people who have experienced the variety of routes available to them.

Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor at Nottingham Trent University, and Ruth South, Head of Graduate and Apprentice Programmes at Capgemini, will also share their experience and insight from the worlds of higher education and business. Rather than advocate for one side or the other, experts will advocate for both – drawing on the differences and similarities that both tracks present and reinforcing the idea that individual choice is critical and that students can succeed whichever path they choose.

National Apprenticeship Week is running from 8 to 14 February 2021.


UCAS Press Office

01242 545 469



Notes for editors

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an independent charity, and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. We manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.

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