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ABM UK research reveals how apprenticeships are pigeon-holed for children who 'fail'

21 June 2018

This week, leading facilities management solutions provider ABM UK released independent research which unearthed just how deeply the industry’s perception problem runs, contributing to an ever growing skills gap in technical roles.

With 36 per cent of parents of children aged 11 to 16 not knowing what an apprenticeship is, it’s no surprise that the majority (68%) of young people don’t know either, despite being at the age that they will start to make decisions about the direction of their career.

However, Mum and Dad are in the driving seat when it comes to career choices. When asked who or what influences these decisions, Mum and Dad together were number one (66%), followed by teachers and school (41%), the lessons children enjoy (31%) and then friends (14%).

ABM UK Director Adam Baker commented: “This research highlights the need for a more unified approach and a better way of communicating, especially with parents, whose influence alongside teachers is critical.

“When a young person is set to choose a university, there’s a huge amount of support from schools, parents and educational bodies such as UCAS. We need similar representation for apprenticeships and technical careers to ensure young people in the UK don’t miss out on enriching, lucrative and credible career options.”

The top reasons given for not encouraging their child to undertake an apprenticeship were that they were thought to be poorly paid (43%), because they see it as a last resort for those who fail their exams (37%), and that apprenticeships don’t lead to successful careers (17%).

The engineering and facilities management industries are particularly disadvantaged by the awareness gap; 60 per cent of young people said that they were unlikely to even consider working in engineering or facilities management, with a lack of awareness being the main issue.

The report is part of ABM UK’s ongoing commitment to attracting new talent to the engineering and facilities management industry.

In January this year it welcomed 36 West London schoolchildren into the pilot of its first-ever Junior Engineering Engagement Programme (J.E.E.P).

ABM UK Director Adam Baker continued: “It’s time to shake off the view that technical careers are about oily rags and no prospects.

"Business leaders across the industry acknowledge that shortages of skilled staff will soon impact the success of their business, making it clear that filling the knowledge gap doesn’t solely sit with the government or parents.

"It’s everyone’s responsibility – including industry bodies and commercial enterprises – to collaborate in fixing the problem.”

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