A Bradford councillor believes many parents do not realise the “true value” of apprenticeships and this view often leads them to discourage their children from going down the vocational route.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, executive member for employment and skills at Bradford Council, made the comments after a survey revealed more than 80 per cent of the region’s young people wanting to get into vocational education do not get the support of their parents.
Figures released today by educational charity The Edge Foundation show that just 19 per cent of parents in Yorkshire and Humberside believe that a vocational course is worthwhile, with many discouraging their children from getting involved in apprenticeships or training.
This means the area is one of the most “sceptical” when it comes to such education – in the South East the figure was 44 per cent.
But the survey also reveals that those who do choose the vocational route were just as fulfilled as those who study academically.
Half of vocational students said their schools informed them they would be “more successful” if they chose the academic path.
And 44 per cent of those surveyed said their parents remained the biggest influence on their education choices.
Jan Hodges, CEO of the Edge Foundation, said: “It is disappointing that so few parents and teachers see vocational education as being worthwhile, when in fact both routes result in similar levels of happiness, job satisfaction and financial gain.
“The stigma attached to vocational learning is old-fashioned and unjust.”
Coun Hinchcliffe is also part of the Get Bradford Working campaign to create more jobs in the city and said: “Parents are very important in influencing what route their children take and the true value of apprenticeships is not always realised. I know from visiting employers that there are some first-class career opportunities for ambitious and able young people wanting to take the apprenticeship route. In Bradford there is a concerted attempt through the schools, and the Apprenticeship Hub to address these perceptions, but it will take time.”
Paul Mackie, president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce and the chair of the E3 Bradford scheme, which stands for Education, Enterprise, Employment, said: “It’s not the fault of parents that most children are being pushed down the academic route – that’s the system that’s been held up as the panacea for many years now, and it’s clearly wrong. If more research like this can help to highlight that vocational options do offer a viable future too, then that’s all to the good. View are changing about vocational education and possible pathways, but we need more views to change, more quickly.”