NHS campaign challenges misconceptions about Apprenticeships

People in the North West are missing out on thousands of job opportunities because of misconceptions about apprenticeships, according to new research published today.

Research released by the NHS for National Apprenticeship Week (March 6-10) shows that an alarming five per cent of young people in the North West aged 14-18 and 10 per cent of 18-25-year-olds do not understand what an apprenticeship is or what it involves.

Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of those questioned in the North West believe that apprenticeships are only for young people, a figure which rises to 71 per cent amongst the 35-45 age group.

In the run up to National Apprenticeship Week the NHS has launched the #NHyeS campaign to attract people of all ages in the North East into the NHS through apprenticeships and to celebrate everyone who has completed or is undertaking an NHS apprenticeship. The campaign aims to promote apprenticeships in the NHS as a viable first choice for people of all ages, with more than 150 apprenticeships on offer. Apprentices highlight major benefits such as getting paid to learn and the chance to gain experience on the job.

Key research findings include:

Misconceptions about apprenticeships still prevail amongst school and college pupils in the North West, 88% of young people in education believe apprenticeships are only for those looking to pursue a trade such as plumbing and engineering.

Almost a quarter (23%) of those surveyed in the North West claimed they were given limited or no information on apprenticeships by school careers advisors.

36% of 14-18 year olds in the North West believe existing apprenticeships are geared more towards boys than girls and a further 52% said they believe all apprenticeships are badly paid.

More than a third (35%) of young people in the North West said they didn’t believe apprenticeships were available in the jobs or careers they are interested in, demonstrating a significant lack of awareness of the variation of apprenticeships available in the NHS and beyond.

· 21% of 14-18 year olds in the North West said they were not confident they would ever find a career they would enjoy.

· 38% of young people in the North West said their parents had never spoken to them about the option of doing an apprenticeship

· 41% of those surveyed in the North West said they believe apprenticeships are only for people who struggle academically.

Kirk Lower, NHS National Lead for Apprenticeships said: “The traditional view for many is that apprenticeships are less valuable than A Levels or degrees, despite many apprenticeships now leading to a third level qualification or higher.

“One of the challenges is making people of all ages aware of the opportunities for apprenticeships in the NHS, with more than 150 different apprenticeship roles on offer.”

The NHS in England has committed to creating 100,000 apprenticeships – almost seven times the current number – across the country by 2020. There were nearly 20,000 apprenticeships recruited into training position in 2015/16.

Laura Roberts, who leads on the national programmes to increase access to careers in the NHS in England, said: “The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ and we want to show people that the NHS provides opportunities for people of all age groups. Apprenticeships provide routes into a variety of careers in the NHS and are an excellent opportunity to earn, gain work experience and achieve nationally recognised qualifications at the same time. For those young people still wondering whether there’s an apprenticeship opportunity for them, the answer is #NHyeS.”

A total of 1,500 14-18 year olds in secondary or tertiary education, 18-45 year olds not in education or training (NEETs) and 25-45 year olds looking to change careers were surveyed.

As part of its #NHyeS campaign, the NHS is sharing the personal stories of some of its apprentices. Including the story of Rebecca Nolan: Rebecca is a 29-year-old Apprentice Clinical Support Worker from Clayton in Manchester. Rebecca was working at The Priory Hospital in Manchester as a Healthcare Assistant, but was looking for a role that would offer her more opportunities for career progression. She spotted an apprenticeship opportunity at Central Manchester Foundation Trust and is now working as a Clinical Support Worker within a busy surgical division specialising in the aftercare of patients who have had extensive surgical procedures. She is hoping to use her apprenticeship as a route into full time nursing