Too many parents are unaware of the range of opportunities apprenticeships can offer according to a new survey by the parent website Mumsnet.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has urged parents to move on from outdated stereotypes when giving their children advice about their future career paths so they are not missing out on the chance to pursue their dream career.

According to the research published today to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week, over 60% of parents of children aged 13-18 surveyed said they were concerned their child would be stuck ‘making the tea’ if they were to choose an apprenticeship.

Other findings highlighted that more than a third (35%) of parents said they still associate apprenticeships with manual jobs, like plumbing and carpentry, and 45% are unaware they go right up to degree level. 

Ekansh Sharma, Software Engineer at Accenture said, “I’m from a very traditional Asian household, so you’re either a lawyer, a doctor or an engineer! When I told my mum, she was a little annoyed, but accepted it. Now she’s a big advocate of apprenticeships – she’s telling all her friends. 

"The older generation sometimes don’t understand because the more traditional image is apprenticeships being for trades, however, there are hundreds, ranging from journalist to a nuclear missile engineer. You can even become a solicitor.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:  “This research shows that outdated views are holding young people back from pursuing their dream career.

 “Every parent wants the best for their children and when they ask you for advice about their futures, it’s incredibly daunting. But I know that when I’m asked for help by my children I will absolutely encourage them to consider an apprenticeship. 

 “So as we celebrate the life changing potential of apprenticeships I would urge all parents to do the same and look beyond stereotypes and embrace every opportunity.”

Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said: “Our research shows that parents on Mumsnet are interested in the idea of apprenticeships and don't dismiss them out of hand, but some of our users are not very confident about explaining the opportunities on offer, and in some cases perhaps haven't yet fully understood the range of qualifications and the doors they can open with employers. 

“The world of education and training has changed a great deal over the past ten years and it's obviously taking some of us a little while to catch up - on the bright side, you could say this is a great example of lifelong learning.”

48% of parents surveyed said they weren’t worried about the future earning potential of their child should they choose an apprenticeship, but there were still concerns with almost half (45%) saying they didn’t think apprenticeships were valued as highly as a university degree by the UK’s top employers.

The government has transformed apprenticeships, working closely with top employers like BT, BAE Systems and Greene King to create more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities so that apprentices gain the skills they need to secure a great job and that provide industry with the workforce they need now and in the future. 

Apprenticeships offer the chance to kick start a well-paid career in a wide range of exciting professions such as cyber security and aerospace engineering with options to train right up to degree level.  

Research has highlighted that:

• The vast majority of apprentices agreed that their career prospects had improved since starting their apprenticeship – 85% of Level 2 and 3 apprentices and 83% of higher (Level 4 plus) apprentices
• On average, completing a Level 2  apprenticeship boosts earnings by 11%, and a level 3 apprenticeship by 16% 
• Apprentices who complete a higher level apprenticeship could earn £150,000 more on average over their lifetime compared to those with Level 3 vocational qualification[3]
• Of those who completed an apprenticeship, 90% secured a job or went on to further learning, with 88% in sustained employment
• Employers also report benefits On average, a Level 2 apprenticeship boosts your earnings by 11 per cent too, with 86% saying apprentices developed skills relevant to their organisation and 78% reported improved productivity. 
Lynn Craddock, whose daughter Lucy is a Data Science Degree Apprentice, added:  “My daughter is able to get real experience, build her confidence, and network with professionals in the industry at a very young age. She’s at the forefront of technology with brilliant career prospects, paying for her own car and able to save for her first house since she was 18. 

“I was very nervous at first as I didn’t know how apprenticeships worked. She was leaving home, having to do everything by herself - and the process was very hard - but when she started working I knew it was the best decision she ever made. 

"My advice is to other parents is to give your children a lot of support, especially when they are not always successful in applying. It’s a great opportunity which means it takes a lot of work and resilience to get through.”

To help challenge outdated attitudes, last year the government launched the ‘Fire It Up’ campaign and website.