By William Akerman, Founder and MD, MyKindaFuture
I launched MyKindaFuture, then MyKindaCrowd, in 2012. This is when the UK Government withdrew from providing comprehensive career guidance to young people, which also coincided with an increased industry focus on addressing their skills gaps.
I used my industry skills to create a strategic concept for a holistic model – helping facilitate connections between young people and business.
To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2016, we have launched research that revealed students still don't truly understand the benefits of embarking on an apprenticeship versus an undergraduate route.
The Government is urging businesses to actively spend time on targeting and creating a talent pool of future apprentices in order to meet the three million apprenticeships target.
The research shows that 46% of students would be put off applying for an apprenticeship because they wouldn’t have a degree on their CV. Additionally, nearly half of young people surveyed were holding off on applying for an apprenticeship, saying they will miss out on the university experience.
I recently joined an apprenticeship panel with Chloe Smith MP and the terrific Youth Employment UK at an Apprenticeships 4 England event. The audience included many young people who are currently on or have recently completed an apprenticeship scheme. It was fascinating to hear their feedback and opinions.
The resounding response was of a positive experience, confident that this career route was best for them, and that their future looked bright. Many proudly compared themselves to their friends and peers who had not taken an apprenticeship.
Within the enthusiasm for apprenticeships was two key points:
1. All of the young people in the room had joined an apprenticeship scheme 'by chance'. They found out about them because a local employer had visited their school, they had searched the internet themselves, or they'd seen an advert.
2. None had been guided into an apprenticeship by their teacher or their parent.
The second point was picked up by the House of Lords committee I spoke at on the following day. When asked what more Government could do, my response was simple: the key influencers of students (teachers and parents) need better information to enable them to provide support to their students and children.
Equipping teachers with resources and know-how is something that I'm passionate about, and through MyKindaFuture, I'm able to make a small impact via our 18,000 teacher members – most of whom are career teachers or heads of year.
The Government's focus for apprenticeships is firmly on industry and employers, but we can't forget the importance of helping teachers and parents understand how far you can go with an apprenticeship.