The Industry Apprentice Council urges apprentices to make their voices heard

The Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) has launched its fourth annual survey to gather the views of young people in apprenticeships across the UK. Apprentices are being encouraged to let their voices be heard to help improve the image and perception of technical and vocational education and call for better careers advice in schools.

The results of the survey, which is open until Friday 10th March, will be presented to the relevant ministers, MPs, stakeholders and policymakers to shape the advice, training and careers for those in future.

“As the government presses ahead with its apprenticeship reforms, it’s vital that the voice of apprentices is heard in the corridors of power,” announced Shadow Skills Minister Gordon Marsden. “The IAC survey is a fantastic opportunity to make that happen – and the more apprentices that respond, the louder that voice becomes. I encourage all apprentices across industry to take part and to help shape the future of apprenticeships.”

The IAC’s apprentice members are regularly invited to address ministers, MPs, peers and leaders in both business and education. The Skills Minister will be attending an upcoming meeting and last year’s annual report has been quoted in the House of Commons.

The IAC is run by Semta Group, whose chief executive, Ann Watson said: “With the Government’s target of 3million apprenticeships by 2020, the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy the voice of the apprentices themselves has never been more important. No doubt the newly formed Institute of Apprenticeships will find the IAC survey data invaluable in their work.”

Previous surveys have highlighted problems in the system and the importance of ensuring apprenticeships are recognised with professional accreditation.

Key findings of the 2016 survey, in which more than 1,500 apprentices took part, included: Careers advice is still in crisis; 50% of respondents found out about their apprenticeship through their own initiative – just 15% found out from a teacher or careers adviser; only 24% of apprentices were actively encouraged to take up an apprenticeship by educators; 84% had not heard of the planned apprenticeship levy; 70% are unaware of the government's 3m apprentice target: and 75% want a professional accreditation as standard.

Watson added: “It will be interesting to see how things have progressed in the past 12 months and give us a firm idea of how apprenticeships are being viewed by employers, training and education organisations, peers and parents through the eyes of the apprentices themselves.”