New research conducted on behalf of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) reveals that while 80% of MPs agree that ‘full employment’ cannot be achieved without apprenticeships, most of the general public (72%) would prefer their children go to university instead.

In response the CITB is launching a new ‘I’m Backing Apprenticeships’ campaign in Parliament today, and calling on MPs and employers to help change the perception of apprenticeships and boost numbers in construction. The event will be attended by the Skills Minister, Nick Boles.

This new survey, conducted by ComRes, asked 152 MPs their views on apprenticeships. The results showed that an overwhelming 93 per cent of MPs agree that greater availability of apprenticeships will benefit the British economy.

However, the research also revealed that over three-quarters (77 percent) of MPs agree that careers advice tends to promote academic qualifications over vocational education.

Additional research from Demos, also commissioned by the CITB, underlines that apprenticeships don’t have the same standing as university with parents.

It revealed that while nine out of 10 (92 percent) of parents surveyed think apprenticeships are a good option for young people, only a third (32 per cent) think they are the best option for their own son or daughter.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “The Construction industry faces challenging times, but also enormous opportunity. It will only succeed and grow if construction employers can help young people develop the skills needed for tomorrow’s bricklayers, site managers and steelworkers.

“That is why we as a Government are backing apprenticeships, and are welcoming today’s commitment from Construction employers and the CITB to do the same.”

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at the CITB, says: “It goes without saying that parents want the best for their children, but for far too long university has been viewed as the best option to open up career paths.

"This is simply not true, and we need to change that perception. Apprentices learn a wide range of skills that help them not just gain employment, but lead to a fulfilling, successful career.

“Apprenticeships are also good for businesses, giving companies the skills they need to grow. That’s why boosting the quality and number of apprenticeships is absolutely vital.”

James Wates, Chairman of the CITB says: "There are tremendous careers in construction, and we want to encourage the best and brightest into our industry.

"To achieve this, we need schools, government and employers working together to boost the status of vocational learning so that careers advisors, young people and parents see apprenticeships for what they really are: the pathway to a successful future.’

CITB is working to improve and increase the number of construction apprenticeships through not only this campaign, but a range of industry-focused initiatives.

This includes building a comprehensive picture of supply and demand for skills in construction; making CITB funding easier and faster for employers to access; a new common web portal for those interested in joining construction; and by supporting and maintaining qualifications and standards to meet industry needs.