CEIAG for Headteachers, Governors and SLT

Your destination data stats are in peril. Drop out rates are up again

Friday 17th February 2017

What is going wrong? Apprentices not completing their apprenticeships - University drop outs up.. Given the government's reliance on destination data, this is worrying for Head Teachers.

The TES ran an article this week about 1/3 of apprentices not completing their apprenticeships. The article itself looked at the fact the rate of completions was down on the previous year and that it could have been 'harsh' to compare last year's figures with this years as the figures were compiled using different methods.

In September the Guardian ran an article that 10% of first year undergrads dropped out or changed courses.

That's all well and good - I tend to take the view that in many cases there are, as the saying goes, lies, damn lies and statistics! What bothers me is that given the government target of 3m apprentices - we are condemning 1m people to a feeling of failure. Add that that the 10% of the just over 1/2 million people that start a degree each year... That is a shocking statistic.

Is it down to poor courses?

The government has put a lot of time, money and effort into the new apprenticeship reforms, including the apprenticeship levy and devising the various new standards. Universities spend huge amounts of money on ensuring that their courses fit with employers and students needs. I can't comment on each and every course.

Are the figures skewed by companies using apprenticeships to Uni current workers?

Possibly - if this is the case it means that more then 1/3 of our school leavers are dropping out of courses, as current employees are less likely to drop out of a course.

So are far more than 1/3 of young people dropping out of their apprenticeships they went to straight from school? I'm not sure, the figures I've seen don't break down in that way, I'd be interested if anyone has seen the info broken down in that way.

So IF more than 1/3 of young people are dropping out of apprenticeships where are we going wrong?

I'm a pragmatist, I'm not a research fellow - I speak for the person on the ground in the classroom and college. To my mind it's a simple sum

(More inspiration + less support and guidance) = (confused young people + poor choices.)

My view is that we're reaping the rewards of withdrawing professional careers advice from our schools. Ofsted found that only 10% of schools were delivering satisfactory CEIAG. So we have young people being exposed to more and more influence from employers, websites, unqualified mentors etc. NONE of it is impartial. NONE of it is unbiased. Please don't misunderstand me, the work of employers and mentors is very valuable and well intentioned but it CANNOT put the needs of an individual young person at it's centre. Only a qualified careers professional has the skills and ethical background to at least attempt to do that.

The CDI has a register of qualified careers professionals - all qualified to post graduate level - the register is free to consult and can be found here

Guardian article here

TES article here