UK companies are shunning vocational routes into IT jobs because they are still seen as a last resort and educationally inferior to university degrees, new research has found.
Although a comparison with German companies found that their UK counterparts were unlikely to demand an IT degree for an IT job, few embrace vocational routes into technology-related roles.
And Modern Apprenticeships in the UK have failed to take off, mainly because they have been poorly publicised.
The study from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics (LSE) also found that an apprenticeship scheme for IT jobs in Germany has been warmly received by employers since its introduction in 1997.
To date more than 60,000 individuals have taken an IT apprenticeship compared with only 3,000 Modern Apprenticeships in Britain across all disciplines.
"In Germany there is a recognised, established route for IT apprenticeships, and it's a model that will serve German companies well in the future," said report author Dr Hilary Steedman from the LSE.
"German companies have come together in a way that, despite the efforts of [skills body] e-skills UK, British companies have not."
Anne Cantelo, project director at e-skills UK, explained that negative perceptions about National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) had been the main sticking point to vocational training.
"One reason why apprenticeships are so popular in Germany is because they are so flexible and meet employees' needs. But NVQs are still seen as the last stop option. It's the attitude of a lot of parents and employers."
And yet Modern Apprenticeships offer a cost effective alternative to internal training, according to Cantelo. They are funded by the government up to the age of 25, and studies show that loyalty is much longer at 10 years on average.
"In Britain we're not being very efficient in the way we produce skills. We have IT degrees that aren't relevant, and a Modern Apprenticeship scheme that's not used," explained Cantelo.
"It's about making the best use of the resources we have. If we get the flexibility right, people will take it onboard."
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