Skip to content Skip to footer

Apprenticeships can provide a better route to the boardroom than degrees

Electrical Review Logo

Nearly 20% of all employers report that former apprentices are currently working in senior management positions according to research by the City and Guilds organisation.


The City and Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list reported that almost 50% of construction companies employed former apprentices as directors. Other sectors which reported high levels of former apprentices reached the boardroom where manufacturing and engineering (43 %), agriculture (33 %) and energy and power (33 %).

“I believe we are seeing the beginning of a fundamental shift in the way we prepare the next generation for the world of work,” said Will Davies – co-founder of construction company

“For too long we have placed too much emphasis of university education when many young people would be more suited to vocational or on the job training,” said Davies, whose company has returned to a traditional system of apprenticeships to train young workers.

“These figures demonstrate that for many youngsters, apprenticeships are the best choice and the best way forward,” he said.

Matthew Hancock – the government minister for further education and skills – said: “Either going to university or choosing an apprenticeship needs to become the new norm for school and college leavers. These figures support this aim and show that apprentices are able to succeed in some of the biggest businesses in the UK.”

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed this week that more than a quarter of graduates are actually earning less than school leavers who followed vocational training courses or apprenticeships.

The ONS also said that 26% of low paid graduates found themselves working in part-time jobs, which compared to 11% of those who had followed vocational training. In addition, student numbers have dropped by more than 20 percent at several modern Universities. It is believed that the rise in tuition fees have contributed to the decline.

The former Labour minister Frank Field said: “Successive generations of young people have been shoehorned into universities on the promise of improving their lifetime earnings. But, as well as being saddled with eye-watering levels of debt, more than a quarter of them now work in part-time roles earning lower wages than workers with an apprenticeship under their belt.

“Politicians need to sit up and take note of these shifting patterns. We need to encourage more young people to think hard about the best ways of achieving their goals in life. The government must call for a major rethink on the present pattern of university education and set in hand a working party to take the debate on from these crucial breakthrough statistics.”

Top Stories

Stay In The Know

Get the Electrical Review Newsletter direct to your inbox, and don't miss a thing.