Announce you’ve decided to do an apprenticeship and many will assume you either failed to get into university or you want to be a tradesman. “A lot of parents and teachers don’t understand that pretty much everything from law to web developing can be accessed through a modern apprenticeship,” says Nick Boles, minister of state for skills and equalities.
The landscape has moved on, he says: “You can get a degree through an apprenticeship, so it’s not about capping your ambition. It’s a choice to secure the qualification through working and studying rather than full-time study.”
Boles knows that apprenticeships have a bit of an image problem and is keen to address it: “We just need to get the message out that these are very high-quality programmes.”
June Durrant, deputy principal at Kirklees College in Huddersfield, agrees: “The hard thing is getting people to understand that modern apprenticeships aren’t an ‘oily rag’ route – that’s not the real picture any more.”