Despite the rise in companies offering apprenticeships, new research from reveals that there are still many misconceptions on the topic.

According to the research, over half (56%) of the population has never considered an apprenticeship, with 75 per cent believing the positions are solely aimed at 17 to 21 year olds. 48% also think there is an age limit to applying for roles available.

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More understanding needed

The research highlights a high level of misunderstanding when it comes to apprenticeships in the UK. Over half (59%) cite a below average wage as a disadvantage of undertaking an apprenticeship, yet the National Careers Service places the average apprenticeship wage at £170 per week. Worryingly, 95 per cent of respondents estimated it at significantly below this, with 60 per cent believing the average to be under £100.

Furthermore, a fifth  (21%) claim they either don’t know enough about the opportunities available, don’t see apprenticeships offering much by way of career progression, or avoid them because they still carry a negative stereotype.

Age as a barrier

Only one in ten (14%) aged between 40 to 60 would consider an apprenticeship compared to over a third (36%) of those aged between 16 to 24.

This could be due in part to the fact that 89 per cent of 40 to 60 year olds still think the apprenticeships available are aimed at 17 to 21 year olds, rather than their age group. However, the research suggests that older workers would consider an apprenticeship if they felt the positions were there for them to apply for with nearly (46%) said they would consider an apprenticeship as part of a career change.

Andy Sumner, Managing Director of, UK and Ireland, commented:

“We are certainly seeing a rise in the number of apprenticeships available as more companies, and prospective employees, recognise their value, so its concerning to see the research highlight that a lot of misconceptions still remain. It’s important people understand and view apprenticeships as a viable alternative to traditional routes to work, particularly as the job market becomes increasingly competitive and student fees continue to rise, meaning many young people are thinking more seriously about the best routes into careers. It is also not necessarily a case of having to choose one option over another as apprenticeships offer additional skills from those learnt during a traditional university degree. Apprenticeships are no longer only found in traditional trade roles, but also in a number of different sectors and industries. They offer a great opportunity to those in more established careers who want to learn new skills or go in a new direction and are no longer just something for young people.”


About the research

The research was conducted in March 2015 with 2,000 people from the UK public.