Apprenticeships and Social Mobility 

Written by Calvin Bowers

Are you wondering how apprenticeships relate to social mobility? Take a look at our guide to see just how effective apprenticeships can be. Apprenticeships enable people to train and qualify without any tuition costs. This ensures that somebody’s financial background doesn’t hold them back from reaching their career potential.

What is Social Mobility? 

Social mobility is the phrase used to describe the movement of individuals, groups or families from one social and economic class or strata to another. More often than not, the phrase refers to the movement from a more disadvantaged social group, to a less disadvantaged group. Education is one of the biggest enablers of social mobility. For example, by getting an education that your parents didn’t, you may get a better-paid job than they had. This might result in you being more financially comfortable, moving you from one social class to another. This is an example of social mobility.

One clear way that people understand and evaluate social mobility is by comparing someone’s occupation and income with their parents. The weaker the link is between the two, the higher the level of social mobility. Social mobility varies across the country and is dependent on many factors. In a recent government report, only 31% of people in the North East of England said that they think there are good opportunities for them to make progress compared to 78% in London. This highlights a perception of greater levels of social mobility in London than in the North.

How do Apprenticeships Relate to Social Mobility?  

Securing Jobs for Those Who Don’t Follow the University Route 

Apprenticeships and social mobility are exceptionally closely related. Apprenticeships are a way to work and train outside of the traditional education system, which has long been dictated by socioeconomic status. It is widely understood that children whose parents didn’t go to university are far less likely to go themselves. Furthermore, the income of your primary caregivers is a determining factor of how much you will earn later in life. Thus, it would be fair to say that the traditional education and career routes limit the possibility for social mobility, and leave many young people behind.

Apprenticeships are a way to tackle this. Apprentices have a real job, that pays them a wage while training and learning the skills employers are looking for. Which means they play a crucial role in social mobility. They allow young people who aren’t encouraged or supported into university or higher education and may have gone into low-paid or low-skilled work, to get their foot on the career ladder. Apprenticeships are a way to support people who do not have previous experience or the education needed to begin a job.

Government Support for Equal Pay and Opportunities for Underprivileged Apprentices 

In 2016 the government were pledging to support apprenticeships’ growth and redevelopment. They committed to supporting apprentices from all backgrounds and identities. The government pledged that quality apprenticeships, created by employers, must support young learners, people with disabilities and learning difficulties, and apprentices from disadvantaged areas. Because of this, apprenticeships are a way for disadvantaged people, to progress and secure more significant opportunities for themselves. Across the UK, approximately half of apprentices at level 2 or level 3 received a pay rise upon completing their apprenticeship. And 85% of apprentices continued in employment after their apprenticeship ended.

Degree Apprenticeships and Social Mobility 

The Office of National Statistics recently reported a clear link between somebody’s education level and their annual income. For example, those who are educated to GCSE level earn an average of £19,000 compared to graduates who earn £35,000. Degree apprenticeships are a way to support many more people to get a university education. Therefore, they assist those who otherwise might not have been able to attend, to get a better-paid job.

For more information, visit our guide to degree apprenticeships.

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Last Updated: Sunday August 20 2023
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