Businesses favour applicants who have completed apprenticeships, according to research

Employers favour former apprentices over those who took alternate routes into work, figures show.

A study by ICM Research found that qualified apprentices are seen as 15% more employable than peers with other qualifications.

The most desirable applicants who have received on-the-job training are those who have completed Higher Apprenticeships, according to the results.

They are seen as 25% more employable than anyone who took a different route into work, such as traditional university study.

The findings have been released as the National Apprenticeship Service releases a new film designed to make school leavers aware of the options that are expected to be available to them this year.

A full list of the schemes on offer has been published at, revealing that schemes will cover a total of 41 subjects such as legal services, interactive media, space engineering and engineering environmental technologies.

The schemes give youngsters an alternative way to secure degree-level qualifications outside of typical university study.

Currently, around 15% of apprentices tend to go on to higher education after their apprenticeship, either at college or university, but this could change with Bachelor and Master degrees becoming available at apprenticeship level for the first time.

Higher Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular choice for school leavers, with 3,700 youngsters starting the schemes in England during 2011/2012, which is 68% higher than the year before.

Recent reports have indicated that this could be a bonus for the future prospects of apprentices as well, with completing a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship linked to increased lifetime earnings of more than 150,000.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock explained that apprenticeships and university should become the norm for all young people when they are leaving school.

He highlighted that Higher Apprenticeships are a good way of combining the two by giving people the chance to begin their careers whilst still picking up a degree-level qualification.

"We are releasing the online guide and film today to inspire young people to think about their futures and to help employers see how Higher Apprenticeships could benefit their business," he added.

David Way, executive director, National Apprenticeship Service, described how Higher Apprenticeships are a great example of the changing landscape and skills needed in the current world of work.

Copyright Press Association 2013