The proportion of teachers who would rarely or never advise a high-performing student to opt for an apprenticeship.


How much more than many graduates the best apprentices can earn over their lifetime.


The proportion of young people on a level 2 apprenticeship who progress to level 3.


How much less likely disadvantaged young men are than their peers to take up an advanced apprenticeship.

How can we change this?

Our research has uncovered practical, evidence-based solutions to make sure there are more high-quality apprenticeships available to young people and that these can be accessed by the most disadvantaged.

Better careers advice

Better careers advice

High-quality apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’, gain valuable skills and get a foot on the career ladder. Yet too many young people do not know enough about apprenticeships and the career prospects they can offer them.

There should be a stronger drive from government to support and encourage employers to improve the quality and availability of apprenticeships for young people, and for young people to take them up. Careers advice in schools should be clearer about the potential careers, salaries and progression prospects from taking an apprenticeship in different sectors.


POLLING (2019)

POLLING (2018)


More higher and degree-level apprenticeships

More higher and degree-level apprenticeships

Disadvantaged young people are substantially less likely than their better-off peers to take up the best apprenticeships, and for those who do choose an apprenticeship, they are more likely to be working in a low-quality setting with little career progression.

There should be more higher and degree-level apprenticeships, targeted at younger age groups, to give young people a platform for progression to higher level learning and careers. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education should have a widening access function to make sure disadvantaged young people have a fair chance of accessing advanced and higher apprenticeships.


elites in the uk: pulling away?



Improve the levy

Improve the levy

In 2017, the government introduced the apprenticeship levy, a compulsory tax on large employers to help fund the development and delivery of apprenticeships. Businesses can use the levy to pay for training for apprenticeships. Millions of pounds of the levy is going unspent, and yet the budget for apprenticeships is set to be overspent which is resulting in a lack of clarity on how it can best be used.

A portion of Levy money should be ringfenced for spending on bursaries, outreach or travel for disadvantaged apprentices. The levy should continue to fund apprenticeships at levels 6 and 7 and better data should be captured on the socioeconomic background of apprentices.



Automatic progression

Automatic progression

The majority of apprenticeship starts are at levels 2 and 3, which is equivalent to GCSE and A-levels. Progression to higher level qualifications is crucial to the workplace prospects of young people, yet too often they run into an invisible ceiling.

Progression for those beginning on lower level apprenticeships should be seamless and automatic so that young people don’t drop out before getting a good quality apprenticeship.



Explore our priorities

Early Years Early Years icon

Early Years

Schools Schools icon


Higher education Higher education icon

Higher education

Access to the workplace Access to the workplace icon

Access to the workplace