Providing parents with current information about apprenticeships is a valuable instrument for employers who want to attract top student talent, explains Mitesh Bhimjiyani, founder of Success at School.
In January Success at School surveyed 449 parent participants. The core aim was to gather data on how today’s parents view apprenticeships and to identify how employers can better reach these important influencers in students’ lives.
More than one in ten (13%) parents surveyed thought that apprenticeships are an opportunity. Opportunity appeared in 52 of 404 free text answers. It was the most common word that came to mind when asked to think of apprenticeships, followed closely by words like training, experience, work, learning, and career.
Apprenticeships are a learning opportunity, as well as a chance to gain valuable work experience and jumpstart a fulfilling career.
Students exploring early career paths deserve to know their options. However, they often turn to parents unaware of the possibilities an apprenticeship presents, or who are still in possession of outdated assumptions.
Employers seeking out ambitious learners could greatly benefit from our findings as they develop marketing tools to engage with the parents of school leavers.
One thing that’s overwhelmingly clear from the parental response is a need for educational resources when it comes to apprenticeships.
We had 47 ‘further comments’ in the survey related to a desire for more detail on the specifics of an apprenticeship, especially degree and higher apprenticeships.
Several of these responses expressed that they would undertake this research themselves or that they felt schools and careers advisors should be providing more information about the benefits of an apprenticeship rather than pushing for university as a first option.
That this information isn’t readily available creates an obstacle for those not seeking it out themselves – many parents said that they or their children thought an apprenticeship wouldn’t offer as many career prospects and that the qualifications they received would be respected less.
Nearly half (47.2%) of the parents surveyed linked apprenticeships with trade professions, while 8% said they did not think an apprenticeship could lead to a job that would typically require a bachelor’s degree. A further 29% were unsure if students who chose apprenticeships could qualify for careers that normally call for higher education.
This lack of understanding meant some parents held assumptions based on outdated information. Multiple responses saw apprenticeships as universally low-paying. These parents could be unaware of the pay and conditions many employers offer their apprentices, which can vary greatly from the national apprenticeship wage.
Education is essential for employers seeking a parent audience for their apprenticeship programmes.
Partnering directly with schools and colleges could be instrumental in getting your early career opportunities in front of them. Providing more general information creates a deeper understanding of the benefits your programmes can provide long and short-term. It also forms a relationship with school staff and parents, making them more receptive to any apprenticeship vacancies you share.
The topics we found parents had the least understanding of included what degree apprenticeships are; 48.8% of parents surveyed were unaware such a scheme existed.
There was also uncertainty about what an apprenticeship would cost, and who pays for it – 85 out of 443 parent respondents thought that the apprentice must contribute to the cost of a degree apprenticeship. That’s nearly 20% of all responses, and this was only among those who knew what a degree apprenticeship was to begin with.
Other topics of interest might include what industries and professions an apprenticeship can lead to, how they compare to a university degree, and practical details such as when and how to apply for an apprenticeship.
Marketing to parents
There are several ways of disseminating this information to parents outside of school partnerships such as putting out educational newsletters, paid and organic social media campaigns, and sponsored workshops are all great tools for engaging with parents.
Partners such as Success at School, that specialise in educating, engaging, and connecting with the next generation of talent, can help employers assess what marketing tools are best for them and offer solutions such as our newsletters and webinars.
No matter what methodologies an employer wishes to utilise, there’s work to be done to address the perceptions parents have about how rewarding an apprenticeship can be.
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