Are graduates looking to enter the world of employment only interested in the ‘sexy stuff’ such as corporate and foreign business? Are apprentices, frankly, less choosy and concerned about being rewarded with prestigious postings?

That discussion took place at the 22nd TARGETjobs Breakfast News event on Thursday 26 April. The theme was ‘Graduates Vs Apprentices’ where speakers used the #BNews2012 tag to answer questions from the floor and online.

Philip Taylor spoke about his experiences on the BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, and as a real-life apprentice, and how they helped him go on to launch the ‘Body Rocka’ fitness product. He said that apprentices and graduates can learn a lot from each other, and that one recruitment stream wasn’t necessarily superior to the other. However, he also pointed out that some large corporations were taking advantage of sponsored apprenticeships to train internal staff, rather than creating new positions for school leavers.

John Morewood, Senior Specialist in Emerging Talent at HSBC, explained why they have begun to do things differently, and how apprenticeships are working for the business. Marcus Body, head of research for Work Group argued that if you hire graduates you need to guarantee that they will realise their potential within your organisation. Otherwise, unless you are going to hire someone with a specific, relevant degree, do you need to hire a graduate at all?

Bryan Finn, of Business Economics Ltd, gave a short economic forecast, as well as looking at the history of internships. He pointed out that government sponsored apprenticeships have grown from less than 200,000 in 2006/7 to more than 450,000 in 2010/11, despite recent warnings about the UK economy.

Steve James, Head of Editorial at TARGETjobs says: ‘Although apprenticeships seem an increasingly popular option and a viable alternative to graduate recruitment, in some industries graduates are the only choice and are rightly the gold standard in terms of talent.’