TWO-THIRDS of people in Scotland say they don’t view apprenticeships as the best starting point to reaching a senior position in their career, according to new figures which kick off Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

The statistics released by Centrica, owner of Scottish Gas, to mark the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week mean thousands of young people in Scotland could be missing out on careers by dismissing apprenticeship opportunities.

The study taken by Atomik Research between February 10-16 surveyed 3,542 UK respondents aged 18 and above also found that almost half of people (44 per cent) believed university is the best start they can get.

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When asked about the most important aspects of a job at the start of a career, 47 per cent said “good earning potential” and “opportunities for progression to a senior role” were top while 67 per cent believed that only a university degree would achieve these ambitions.

Despite high-quality apprenticeships on offer from employers to provide structured learning with industry qualifications built-in, more than half of people surveyed in Scotland (57 per cent) had not considered this as an option when they left school.

Another survey by Prudential showed that half of Scottish school leavers know little about apprenticeships on offer and two out of three are not aware of firms which offer this option. It also suggests school leavers worry that most schemes involve manual labour and that opportunities for girls are limited and one in four say information about apprenticeship schemes is poor or non-existent.

Simon Moffatt, human resources director at Prudential’s UK insurance business, said: “Scottish Apprenticeship Week is about celebrating the success of apprenticeships.

"In the past decade participation across the UK has hit record levels with 899,940 funded apprentices in the 2015/16 academic year.

"However the message on the wide range of opportunities available, with more than 1,500 job roles across a range of 170 industries on offer throughout the UK is not getting through with too many school leavers not being aware of the career options available.”