Apprentices can earn much more than graduates, finds charity study

Level 5 apprentices have the potential to earn thousands more than students who attended university, with high level apprentices taking home close to £1.5m over their career, earning up to £50,000 more than the average graduate, charity Sutton Trust has found.

 

High earning potential

These startling results have been included in Levels of Success: The Potential of UK Apprenticeships, a new report published created by the Boston Consulting Group and published by the Sutton Trust.

The calculation factors in the cost of going to university, including average student debt levels, compared with the ability of apprentices to earn while learning.

The report factors in the cost of going to university, including average student debt levels, compared with the ability of apprentices to earn while learning.

For those who attended a Russel Group University, they can expect lifetime earnings of almost £1.6m, according to the BCG calculation.

 

We need more good apprenticeships to offer genuine alternatives’

In the current system, the majority of apprenticeships (60 per cent) are set only at GCSE standard (level 2), too many of which offer little value beyond traditional work experience placements and only marginally better lifetime earnings than secondary school qualifications alone.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation, said that ‘‘we need more good apprenticeships to offer genuine alternatives to A-levels and degrees.’’

‘‘Although the Government’s target for apprenticeships to 2020 is three million, we’ve only had 30,000 higher apprenticeships in the last two years. We need more good apprenticeships to offer genuine alternatives to A-levels and degrees,’’ continued Lampl.

To make sure that apprenticeships fulfil their potential as a social mobility vehicle, the Sutton Trust is recommending that:

  • Government, employers and other providers work together to provide more apprenticeships at level 3 or above.
  • Level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeships need to be improved so that level 3 (A-level standard) becomes the norm for young people and all those who start on level 2 have the chance to progress to level 3 within the same apprenticeship.
  • The government’s Career and Enterprise Company should promote apprenticeships, as well as university degrees, in their work with schools on careers advice.
  • The government should launch a much bigger apprenticeships awareness campaign to reach young people, parents and teachers;
  • The government should reform the vocational qualification system and ensure that regulation of higher apprenticeships is fit for purpose.