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Schools failing to provide careers advice to apprentices
PUBLISHED: 16/01/2014 | UPDATED:25/02/2014 11:07:16
Fewer than 20% of automotive apprentices heard about their placements through school or college careers advisers, according to a survey published today.

The survey, which was sponsored by IMI Awards and carried out by the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC), shows that the majority of apprentices in the automotive and other sectors found their apprenticeships through their own initiative or from advice from friends or family.

Only 28% of apprentices in the automotive sector were actively encouraged by their schools to take up apprenticeships, and 14% were actively discouraged, with 70% saying they did not receive good careers information, advice or guidance at school or college.

The apprentices who responded to the survey reported that there a lack of information about their career choice, with 76% believing that their school saw further or higher education as the best career path to aim for.

Alan Mackrill, Managing Director of IMI Awards, said that whilst there were some excellent resources available for careers advisors and teachers within secondary schools, such as the IMI's Autocity website ( ), it appeared they were not being utilised, particularly for those students who wanted to launch their career through an apprenticeship.

"The evidence from this survey indicates that there is a severe lack of careers support from school and colleges when it comes to giving advice and information about apprenticeships. There seems to be a disproportionate emphasis on further and higher education as a career path, regardless of whether pupils are suited to this or not. It would be of extreme concern if schools careers advisers were not putting suitable emphasis on the wonderful opportunities that are available to school leavers through apprenticeships," he said.

Nearly 600 apprentices interviewed

Nearly 600 apprentices from across England, Scotland and Wales were interviewed with the majority (91%) aged between 16 and 24. 106 of the respondents were from the automotive industry, with others coming from engineering and manufacturing, building services, construction, logistics and energy and utilities.

Mr Mackrill said that despite the apparent worrying lack of support in the careers advice service, there were a lot of positives that came out of the survey.

"We asked the respondents if they were pleased to have gone into an apprenticeship and just over 96% said it was the best career choice for them. It was also interesting to note what made them take up the apprenticeships in the first place, and 69% said it was the ability to earn while learning, while 60% said they liked the greater focus on practical learning," he said.

93% of apprentices said their apprenticeships gave them the opportunity to progress onto further qualifications, with nearly 20% of these saying this including the guaranteed opportunity of achieving a degree level qualification.

"What all these apprentices have in common is the desire to get on in life and forge a rewarding career. Industry in this country is crying out for skills and talent, and it is important for schools and colleges to fully recognise the opportunities on offer through apprenticeships," said Mr Mackrill.


Notes for editors:

  1. The Industry Apprentice Council (IAC), which gathers regularly to discuss the key issues affecting Apprenticeships, is made up of apprentices from some of the UK's largest employers, including: Airbus, BAE Systems, Caunton Engineering, DAF Trucks, Ford Dealerships, Ford GB, KMF, MBDA, National Grid, Nestlé and Vauxhall. The IAC was convened in partnership between EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, and IMI Awards, the leading awarding body for the retail motor industry.
  2. IMI Awards is a specialist awarding body offering a wide range of qualifications relating to the automotive, and related engineering, industries. The qualifications are designed to demonstrate skills and competence; the foundation of a successful career. Working closely with expert working groups from within the industry ensure our qualifications are relevant and sector specific. For more information on IMI Awards go to
  3. Full results of the Industry Apprentice Council survey are available on

Contact information: 

Bekki Griffiths, Marketing Executive, IMI Awards.

Fanshaws, Brickendon, Hertfordshire SG13 8PQTel: +44 (0) 1992 519038Email: 

Henry Creagh, Account Director, Kendalls PR