Apprenticeships have been the focus of renewed attention in recent years, with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and the establishment of the Institute of Apprenticeships. The Sutton Trust has consistently argued for the large scale expansion of good apprenticeships so young people have real options and employers can develop the skilled workforce they need. Our research in this area has shown that the earning potential of the best apprenticeships rivals that of degrees, but attitudes to apprenticeships remain mixed, and significant reform of the vocational system is needed.
The Trust believes most new apprenticeships should develop to level 3 at minimum and last at least two years, with automatic progression from level 2. We also see a clear need for greater awareness campaigns for apprenticeships and simplification of the vocational qualification system.
Our work in this area overlaps with our research on access to leading professions, particularly on topics such as the negative effect of unpaid internships on social mobility.