Many parents in the North believe their child is ‘too smart’ to become an apprentice, says study

Bronwen Ollerhead a legal apprentice at Kennedys
Bronwen Ollerhead a legal apprentice at Kennedys
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MANY parents in the North of England have an outdated view of apprenticeships, according to a survey.

More than 30 per cent of the survey’s respondents in the North said they believed their child was “too smart” to become an apprentice.

The careers advice service AllAboutSchoolLeavers, which commissioned the research, said the findings indicated that many parents still think apprenticeships are not for high achievers.

A spokesman for AllAboutSchoolLeavers said: “The news should come as a wake-up call to apprentice employers hoping to attract applications in the North of England, especially as the same research also found that 78.5 per cent of students say their parents are the ones who help them make career decisions.

“As such, employers need to be promoting the potential of their opportunities more effectively to both parents and school leavers if they are going to change attitudes and have the brightest candidates applying for apprenticeship roles.”

Emma Finamore, editor of, said: “While plenty has been done in recent years to break down misconceptions about apprenticeships – as well as the development of more ‘academic’ programmes like degree apprenticeships – more must still be done if employers want to attract a variety of applicants.

“It’s clear from our research that this is especially pressing in the North of England: if employers want to win over young people they should also engage with parents, who have the most influence over career decisions.”

The experience of many apprentices and their parents in the North does not match the view expressed in the research.

Bronwen Ollerhead, who is in the second year of a legal apprenticeship at law firm Kennedys said she chose her programme because it gave her academic qualifications as well as the advantages of being in the workplace.

“An apprenticeship is often seen as a cop out for people who are too lazy or not smart enough to go to university,” she said. “Firstly, this is entirely incorrect in relation to my apprenticeship as there was a minimum grade requirement in order to be successful. My qualification is from a university and is recognised as a degree.

“I’m currently working towards becoming a fully qualified solicitor just the same as anyone else who went to university. I attend lectures once a week and complete a number of exams and coursework each year.

“I am also monitored closely by tutors and supervisors to ensure I’m completing my work and making progress, and I’ve built up great relationships with my colleagues and clients – this is invaluable experience which you just wouldn’t get in any other way than an apprenticeship. I think many people envision an apprentice making cups of tea, but I’m completely run off my feet.”

She said the apprenticeship was matching her learning style as well as her ambition.

She added: “I chose an apprenticeship as I am career driven and ambitious and find that I am a more practical learner. I enjoy seeing what I am learning being put into practice and am really grateful that I can do exactly that.”

YouGov approached 2,045 UK parents to answer the set of questions provided by AllAboutSchoolLeavers.

For the question on apprenticeships, 493 UK parents responded, including 112 from the North.