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Katy Jones

The road less travelled? Improving the apprenticeship pathway for young people

The road less travelled? Improving the apprenticeship pathway for young people

Katy Jones
07 November 2013

Youth unemployment currently stands at almost one million. In large part this reflects the impact of the recession. However, youth unemployment was rising even before then – some measures suggest youth unemployment began to rise in the early 2000s. As well as the short-term rise associated with the recession, it is important to consider the long-term causes of rising youth unemployment. In particular, it is increasingly recognised that pathways from education into work need to function better for those not taking the traditional academic route.

Apprenticeships are an important way of improving vocational routes from school to work and are seen as a key mechanism to address the UK’s youth unemployment problem. Apprenticeships can be hugely beneficial to a young person’s labour market prospects, can bring significant benefits to businesses and are an important tool for developing a skilled workforce.

This policy paper presents a case study of apprenticeships in the adult social care sector. This is an example of a growing service sector with significant skill demands, and where growing the number of high quality apprenticeships could offer a strong vocational alternative to academic routes into the labour market across the country. However, the experience of apprenticeships in social care illustrates many of the general limitations of the current system and as with many apprenticeships in the service sector, issues around low pay, insecurity and limited career progression must be improved if apprenticeships are to offer young people a valuable route into work. 

This paper is structrued in the following format:

  • Apprenticeships and the youth labour market
  • Apprenticeships in adult social care 
  • Conclusions and recommendations: suggestions for policy development

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