Most parents are still not convinced about apprenticeships despite the workplace experience they offer, figures suggest

More than four in five parents do not consider apprenticeships to be the equal of university education, a new study shows.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey canvassed 400 working parents and found almost half felt apprenticeships were predominantly for manual or blue-collar workers.

The research discovered just 10% of parents would rather see their children seek qualifications through apprenticeships than any other route.

The report, which has coincided with National Apprenticeships Week, called for increased knowledge, particularly in schools, and a rise in the number of placements offered by companies - moves which would make parents think differently about apprenticeships.

CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said: "Apprenticeships give young people the chance to learn and develop skills in the context of the workplace, and enable employers to grow their own workforce and recruit from a more diverse pool of talent.

"But this new research shows that mis-perceptions about apprenticeships prevail, which is likely to impact the supply of potential candidates for employers that do offer apprenticeships and deter those that don't from adapting their recruitment methods."

The importance of apprenticeships has been highlighted by a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Apprenticeships are predicted to boost the economy by 3.4 billion each year by 2022 through productivity gains.

Almost twice as many people are expected to complete apprenticeships over the next decade. The total figure for the current financial year is 260,000, compared to a forecast of 480,000 by 2022.

Spokesman Charles Davis said: "The importance of apprenticeships to businesses and the wider UK recovery cannot be underestimated. Our research clearly demonstrates the significant contribution that apprenticeships can make to economic growth.

"Raising the skills of the UK's workforce translates into improved UK competitiveness in a challenging post-financial crisis environment."

Barclays is among the companies which have recently unveiled plans to offer apprenticeships. The extra interest in apprenticeships will see twice as many young people in schemes during 2013. There are expected to be 2,000 apprentices in all, it said.

Additionally, Barclays will provide free support to firms in England in a bid to help thousands of young people find jobs.

Copyright Press Association 2013