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Interest in apprenticeships has declined for the last two years and parents aren’t helping

24 / 02 / 2023Lisa Marris

Apprenticeship Uptake Charts

  Column %   2020   2021   2022
Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) 6.05%  6.38%  4.40% 
Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) 15.06%  19.69% 13.97% 
Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4/5/6/7) 19.13% 21.36% 19.68%
Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6/7) 26.35% 27.08% 36.83%
Undecided 14.92% 12.17% 12.42%
Don't know the difference between levels 18.48% 13.32% 12.71%

Interest in apprenticeships declined for the first time in 2021 and have not regained pre-pandemic levels of interest growth. Just 9% of school leavers are interested in apprenticeships, down from a high of 11% in 2020.

Although interest in the highest level apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships, has increased by 10% points since 2020.

Apprenticeship salaries have increased by 11% on average, with some employers raising apprentice pay by up to 5%. (Institute of Student Employers Recruitment Survey).

So why isn’t there more interest?

  • 1 in 3 students (34%) have not received enough information (or any information) about apprenticeships.
  • Only 2 in 5 (39%) students say they have received enough information to make a decision about apprenticeships.
  • 1 in 2 high socio-economic students cite their parents as their biggest influence; this is almost double the proportion of low socio-economic students who are more likely to listen to other role models and their teachers.

There are more university applicants than ever before. Around 28,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who applied to go to university were without an offer at the end of the summer (according to DataHE). The total number of 18-year-olds not holding an offer increased from about 16,000 at this stage in the admissions process in 2019 to 27,850 in 2022.

Simon Martin, CEO of Group GTI, said:

“It’s good to see interest in degree apprenticeships rising so fast, but interest in apprenticeships overall has fallen worryingly since the start of the pandemic. By contrast, university remains ever-popular and competition for places is at its most fierce for decades."

"Cibyl data shows people aren’t getting enough information while at school to be confident in this route. Parents often guide towards the more prestigious university route, maybe without realising that apprenticeships can be a great way of getting into a career more quickly and while getting paid. Students from lower socio-economic groups are more likely to listen to other role models and their teachers – so there is an opportunity here to improve the apprenticeship brand”

Mary Curnock Cook CBE, former head of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) said:

“UCAS tells us that lots of young people are interested in apprenticeships but clearly there’s still some heavy lifting to be done to convert that into applications and move the dial away from university as the default option.”

Case study


Kishan Bathia, Finance Apprentice at Sky

Choosing an apprenticeship

I chose my finance apprenticeship with Sky because I wanted to drive decisions that would have a material impact in a business. Sky offered a unique proposition which allowed me to be a part of those conversations and while also being one of the largest media organisations in the world, it was an opportunity I could not miss! This, combined with studying a globally recognised qualification such as CIMA was therefore a no brainer in choosing Sky!

The role

One aspect I enjoy about my role is the responsibility I am given. One assumption I had going into an apprenticeship is that I was going to be given ‘low value’ work and was going to be stuck in this position until I am qualified. However, my time at Sky has been the exact opposite. I have been involved in several tasks, a few which go to CFO level. I love the challenge of being handed more than I am expected, because it allows me to show others that I am capable of handling it.

Recommendations for young people considering an apprenticeship

Get ahead of the game! If you are serious about doing an apprenticeship, start preparing early! Start to envision what field you would like to work in, then look at potential roles and career options from there. Make a note of websites that advocate apprenticeships. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile to increase your ‘Personal Brand’. Go to work experience placements to immerse yourself in a workplace setting. Following these steps will put you in a great position to land an apprenticeship.

Views on current information about apprenticeships

It may have changed now but I think schools/colleges should do a lot better in advocating the benefits of apprenticeships. I discovered apprenticeships through online searches and family. It was a similar situation when I began preparing for interviews and application assessments. Education institutions should be presenting/advocating them regularly as a viable career path to change the biased thinking towards apprenticeships. Bring early careers organisations in to do sessions, get apprentices to talk about their roles, organise career fairs. Such simple steps can go a long way in changing the narrative.




  • GTI Cibyl School Leaver Survey conducted annually from Jan-Mar 2022 among students ages 12-18.
  • There were 10,538 respondents from over 2,000 schools.
  • Gender, ethnicity, sexuality, socio-economic status & intersectionality data.
  • Data weighted by school and gender.



Cibyl is a leading student market research consultancy covering the UK and Ireland. Cibyl provides employers, universities, professional bodies and researchers with unparalleled insights into students’ career thinking. The annual Cibyl graduate research surveys are the most comprehensive of their kind.

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