Apprenticeship misconceptions dispelled

March 13, 2014 8:43 am


New research has uncovered the top 10 misconceptions that employers have with regards to apprentices and apprenticeships, and has provided information that dispels such mistaken beliefs. has dispelled the top 10 misconceptions that employers have when it comes to the topic of apprentices and apprenticeships, including the belief that apprentices will drop-out before their apprenticeship ends and that they’re more expensive to the employer than a graduate would be.

1,471 employers from around the UK, all of whom were involved in the recruitment process within their company, were quizzed about their understanding of apprentices and apprenticeships. With all research collated, the following top 10 stood out as the most common misconceptions that employers have with regards to apprenticeships:

1. Apprenticeships are for drop-outs. With rising tuition fees, more and more students are choosing to undertake apprenticeships and vocational training as an alternative to university. They’re well within their rights to choose which path to take and usually undertaking an alternative to university is more beneficial.

2. The employer won’t be in a position to choose the apprentice. In fact, the employer gets the final decision on who is hired, as they would with any normal member of staff they were recruiting. Businesses aren’t just handed any apprentice – it’s the role of the employer to hire someone they feel will suit the company well and who they feel will be an asset.

3. Apprenticeships are only available for young people. Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, with no upper age limit.

4. Staff who train apprentices will spend too much time away from their own work. Apprentices learn whilst they work, so therefore there is no reason the staff who have to train them will have to spend too much time away from their own jobs or out of the office. Many apprentices will shadow other employees to pick things up more quickly.

5. Training fees for the apprentice will be expensive. Actually, the Government provides training funding to companies that take on apprentices; 100% for training 16-18 year olds, up to 50% for 19-24 year olds, as well as providing a contribution for those aged 25 and over.

6. Young apprentices will drop out before their apprenticeship ends. 8 out of 10 apprentices through Not Going to Uni stated that undertaking an apprenticeship had increased their career prospects and provided them with the necessary skills to go far. The majority will see their apprenticeship through to completion and many will also secure a permanent job in the workplace within which they carried out their apprenticeship.

7. Young apprentices have little to no respect and will turn up late, if at all. Those who undertake apprenticeships are typically highly motivated individuals who are keen to learn. A lot of the time they can even be more motivated and productive than other staff within the company.

8. Apprenticeships are for trade sectors only. The majority of sectors now provide apprenticeships, as they’ve realised how beneficial bringing an apprentice into the company can be. Sectors that commonly take on apprentices include agriculture, hospitality, law, publishing and retail.

9. It’s cheaper to hire a graduate than an apprentice. False. Many graduates lack any practical work experience, possessing only the theoretical side of the industry they’ve studied – so they’re in almost the same position as an apprentice, except with a graduate employers have to pay for training plus a graduate salary. With an apprentice, the salary is much lower initially with just some, if any, training costs.

10. Apprenticeships are for boys, not girls. Between 2010 and the end of 2013 there were more girls undertaking apprenticeships within the workplace than there were boys; with females making up between 53.1% and 54.7%* of all apprentices in workplaces around the UK.

Having dispelled the top 10 misconceptions that employers have surrounding apprenticeships, Not Going to Uni has also released an Apprenticeship and Vocational Training Guide to provide employers and students with as much information as possible.  This year’s guide includes a foreword from successful business entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den investor, James Caan, as well as unbiased information on the benefits of choosing an alternative route to university, and the benefits of choosing to hire an apprentice.

If you are interested in taking on an apprentice you may qualify for a grant to help fund some of the costs.  Ashfield & Mansfield District Councils have recently launched the Ashfield and Mansfield Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) which will be available from 1 April 2014, offering businesses taking on a new apprentice up to £1,500 on top of the current National Apprenticeship Service’s (NAS) £1,500 AGE.  Alternatively if you would like information on how to find an undergraduate for an 8-week work placement please see our Aim Higher online brochure.  Further information on the apprenticeship grant and the Aim Higher scheme is available from Helen Dennis at: or on: 01623 463152.  We also run a 6-month graduate placement scheme, Graduates into Enterprise, for more information see our online brochure.

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