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Graduate or Apprentice?

Seven major employers were recently asked to state their preference for either graduate or apprentice recruits. 42% of this summer’s university graduates are expected to take jobs that do not require a degree – known as being “under-employed” – rather than unemployed. Some of the employers’ comments:

  • McDonald’s CEO: asked for an end to education “snobbery”, arguing that university was not for everybody and promoting apprenticeships at companies such as hers as a good alternative.
  • BT: their apprenticeship scheme may be expanded by up to 50% next year, as it is becoming increasingly popular. “It’s easier to get into Oxford than to get a BT apprenticeship”.
  • National Grid: “We do need a lot of educated graduates, that’s a fact. But we also need an enormous number of highly skilled technicians.”
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers: “HEADstart, our A-level entry scheme, offers a great alternative to going to university. Since 2008 the scheme has seen a 200% increase in applications. This year, we have received over 14 applications for every post.”
  • Tesco: Their new school-leavers’ management training programme means that people who leave school at 16 or 18 can become store managers, earning about £50,000, by the age of 25. “At Tesco is that there isn’t an “officer class”. When graduates come in, they’re expected to work in the store alongside everybody else.”


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