The survey, conducted for the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), asked 2,000 adults whether they would prefer their child to undertake an apprenticeship or study for a university degree.
While 50% said they didn’t mind just so long as their child was happy, among the half that expressed a preference, there was a narrow win for apprentices: 25% said they would rather their children undertook an apprenticeship; 24% would rather they studied for a university degree. (99% total due to rounding out.)
Survey respondents were also asked how they felt about building firms that trained apprentices and found that 60% would have a more positive image of a construction firm knowing that it trains apprentices and 41% said that they would be more likely to hire a building firm that trains apprentices.
The findings of the FMB survey are in stark contrast to a similar study conducted for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in 2015. That found that while 92% of parents considered apprenticeships a good option for young people, only 32% thought them a suitable option for their own children.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry said that the findings of his survey suggested attitudes were changing. “We’re finally seeing the shift in attitudes with more people understanding the value of undertaking a vocational apprenticeship rather than a university degree,” he said.
“For too long, apprenticeships were looked down on and seen as the alternative route if children weren’t bright enough to follow the more academic route. With university fees in England going through the roof, and with apprenticeships offering an ‘earn-while-you-learn route to a meaningful job, it’s no wonder that the penny has finally dropped. This research signals that the majority of children won’t be suffering undue pressure from their parents or teachers to attend university unless it really is right for them. Not everyone is academic and even for our very brightest students, on-the-job-learning can be an appealing way to prepare for the world of work. Apprenticeships are a brilliant career path and there are plenty of exciting opportunities in sectors like construction – we’re crying out for more young people to join our ranks.”