Do Apprenticeships Pay? Evidence for England


Researchers from the Centre for Vocational Education Research (CVER) have investigated whether doing an apprenticeship is economically beneficial for young people in the short term. The research, composed of a cohort of 565,000 students who left compulsory education in 2002-2003, analyses the earning between they were around 22/23 years to when they were 27/28 years old.

While most people gain from doing an apprenticeship, the authors conclude that this gain varies and depends significantly on age and gender. Much of the variation in gender was attributable to the sector in which the apprentice works. There is a higher concentration of men in Building and Construction and Engineering, while Child Development, Health and Social Care and Service Enterprises were very important for women. Although there was a positive earnings differential from undertaking an apprenticeship in most sectors, the differential was found to be often much larger within sectors that men specialise in. Amongst the report’s recommendations, the authors argue that better careers information is needed to tackle pay inequalities. Careers information for students should pay more attention to the type of apprenticeship available rather than to encourage students to take any type of apprenticeship at all.

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