A worrying survey by the Edge Foundation found that youngsters are being actively discouraged from opting for vocational education.
Over a third (36%) of students who pursued a vocational route were advised by school that they would be ‘more successful’ if they chose the academic pathway and almost a quarter (22%) were told that they were ‘too clever’ for vocational education.
Only half (51%) of parents encouraged their child’s choice to pursue vocational qualifications – compared to three quarters (74%) who were happy to support their child through an academic route.
The survey found that those who chose vocational qualifications are just as satisfied with their careers as people who went down the academic route.
And lifetime earnings of a graduate are comparable with the lifetime earnings of many former apprentices – average construction apprentices earn £1,504,000 during their careers compared with £1,612,000 for a graduate.
Jan Hodges,CEO of the Edge Foundation, said: “It is disappointing that so few parents and teachers see vocational education as being worthwhile, when in fact both routes result in similar levels of happiness, job satisfaction and financial gain.
“The stigma attached to vocational learning is old-fashioned and unjust.
“A skilled workforce is essential to the UK economy and high quality vocational routes need to be available and encouraged.”