SMC publishes major report on apprenticeships
June 24, 2020 | Alexandra Sufit
Apprenticeships are one of the most powerful and effective means of boosting social mobility amongst workers from less advantaged backgrounds – if they can get into the system.
Between 2015/16 and 2017/18, the number of apprenticeship starters from disadvantaged backgrounds fell by 36%. The impact was even greater for older (aged 25+) and female apprentices. While the outbreak of COVID-19 has created new challenges for employers and is likely to further reduce opportunities for aspiring apprentices.
Our new report – Apprenticeships and social mobility: Fulfilling potential – also reveals that most of the benefits of the current system are going to more privileged colleagues.
Steven Cooper, Interim Co-Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said:
“The apprenticeship levy, introduced in 2017, has disproportionately funded higher-level apprenticeships for learners from more advantaged communities, rather than those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who would benefit more.”
However, the research shows that learners from disadvantaged backgrounds who do complete an apprenticeship enjoy a bigger boost to their earnings than their better off counterparts – particularly at intermediate level – the first step on the apprenticeship journey.
Key findings of the report:
- 36% decline in apprenticeship starts by people from disadvantaged backgrounds (vs 23% for others)
- 16% boost to wages for disadvantaged learners who complete their training (vs 10% for others)
- Only 13% of degree-level apprenticeships, the fastest growing and most expensive apprenticeship option, go to disadvantaged apprentices
- Most disadvantaged apprenticeship starters come from three regions: north-west England (25%), the west midlands (15%) and London (15%)
- More than 80% of apprenticeships undertaken by disadvantaged learners are in Services, Health, Education or Public Administration
- On average, apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds earn less than their more privileged peers
To better understand the barriers to success and what you, as an employer, can do to champion social mobility through apprenticeships –
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