Employers needs to act to ensure apprenticeships aren’t seen as second best to degrees, says IET’s Lizzie Truett

Lizzie Truett, Young Professionals Engagement Manager at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) works with young engineers from around the world. We spoke to Truett following the release of The Work Issue,  which looked at what students really want out of a graduate job. 

Within the early careers industry there is huge momentum behind apprenticeships. Despite this, our research found that students were fairly cynical about whether this is translating to advice in schools. They told to us that apprenticeships were not really a genuine consideration versus a degree. Truett said that it’s up to employers to change that perception. 

“I think until employers start to ask for apprentice level experience in their job specifications and vacancies, apprenticeships will always be seen as second best to Degrees. A lot of job vacancies specify degrees for their essential criteria and they could be missing out on genuine talent with an apprentice background. 

The rising University fees will soon start to put people off going down the degree route

“I also think making the salary of an apprentice more attractive i.e. start earning the same as a Graduate would normally as soon as you start an apprenticeship then it could be more appealing. The rising University fees will soon start to put people off going down the degree route, earning whilst you learn is going to start becoming more attractive to the younger generation.

In the focus groups, we spoke to students about whether it was important to them that their graduate job was with an employers than matched their moral compass. Most students said that while they’d like to work for an organisation that aligns with their moral compass, it was quite low down on their list of priorities. 

Truett said she was surprised by these findings. “I think the media and recruitment industry have seemingly overinflated that,” she said. 

We also discussed the idea of the job for life. Our research showed that most students only expect to be in their first job for around one or two years. Truett welcomes the varied mix of experience that can being. “The ‘career lattice’ instead of the ‘career ladder’ is seen as people being flaky but I disagree entirely,” she says. 

“Gone are the days of a ‘job for life’ and I see that as exciting and a way to breed innovation. Having an employee who has varied experience across different roles and industries brings a new perspective to your workplace and stops you from becoming stale and irrelevant.”

Whilst you are here, we think this event might be of interest…

Lizzie Truett was on the steering group for our recent research project, The Work Issue. We’ll be discussing one of those themes in an upcoming event, Time to Talk? The event looks at what graduate employers can do to better support their applicants and employee’s mental health and wellbeing. To register for a ticket drop hello@hypecollective.co.uk an email. The event is a breakfast on 20th of November in central London.

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