Young people have been urged to consider apprenticeships as exam results once again hit the headlines this week.
With local positions going unfilled, the Observer asks are students unaware of placements or uninterested in doing them?
Director of Elite Hair Academy, Hastings, Linda Smith has been trying to fill eight places since May but has only received two applications.
“We’ve got seven salons screaming out for apprentices,” she said.
Now, she is working with a national organisation, Cheynes Training, in a bid to fill the positions.
Mrs Smith said she had done almost all she could locally and it was the first time she had experienced this problem in 35 years.
“Schools and the government have not promoted that kids can go into apprenticeships, I’ve had a couple of really negative comments from schools saying ‘it’s really low-paid’,” she said.
“Kids are being steered to do A-levels when it’s not really what they want to do.
“Apprenticeships are not for everyone, but neither are colleges and universities.”
She believes schools are not promoting apprenticeships because they are under pressure to encourage students to take A-levels in order to meet government targets.
“It’s got to come from the government. It’s up to them to educate schools,” she said.
“Parents say the pressure to go to uni is immense, my daughter recently left school and apprenticeships were never mentioned.”
Debbie Baldock-Apps, from Sussex Coast College Hastings, is responsible for placing students into apprenticeship schemes and said although some positions receive a lot of interest, such as trainee plumber and electrician placements, others do not.
“You’d think there’d be lots of people interested,we’ve got lots of health and social care places but you don’t get as many people interested as you’d hope,” she said.
She believes some students are put off by low pay.
“Sometimes when you tell someone they’ll get £2.73 an hour they’re like, ‘oh gosh,that’s not much’.”
The rate of pay is set to go up to £3.30 on October 1.
East Sussex County Council has said it will be encouraging students to consider doing apprenticeships as part of its You’re Hired East Sussex campaign to create 500 placements across the county.
Councillor Rupert Simmons said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to get real, on-the-job experience and formal qualifications at the same time working for many of our growing East Sussex businesses.”
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