20 August 2015

  • Only 7% of GCSE-leavers would consider doing an apprenticeship

  • Average 16-year-old expects to earn over £89,000 in sharp contrast to the average UK salary of £26,5002

  • Young people place salary over stimulation in first job

As students across the country find out their GCSE results today (20th August), new research1 conducted by Santander has revealed that only 7% of Year 11 students would consider becoming an apprentice.

Santander’s research, which was conducted at a time when many students will be evaluating their next steps and careers paths, shows there is still a lack of awareness amongst young people of the career benefits and opportunities available through apprenticeships.

Most students said they were familiar with the opportunities of going to college (83%) and university (74%), and this was reflected by their career choices with 49% saying they plan to go to college and 41% to university.

Vicky Wallis, HR Director at Santander, commented: “There is the perception amongst young people that apprenticeships are only for ‘hands on’, manual professions. This is reflected in the research which shows that while young people have a good understanding of the value of college and university, there is a significant number who are unaware of the benefits of apprenticeships.

“We need to encourage young people to look into the vast number of opportunities available to them through apprenticeships and the multitude of sectors involved, such as banking. At Santander, apprenticeships form an essential career path, offering young people a balance between earning and learning, with a structured professional development programme leading to recognised qualifications, alongside practical experience.”

Industry and salary expectations
The research findings reflect what students believe to be required to get into their desired professions. Medicine and healthcare was cited as the most popular sector to work in by students (13%), followed by computing and IT, and accountancy and banking (both 9%). When asked for the main reasons why students expected to follow a particular route to their career, almost half (48%) said they had been influenced by their parents.

The study also found that the average 16 year old expects to achieve a career-high annual salary of over £89,000. Whilst almost one in five (19%) of students who have just completed Year 11 say they expect to earn more than £100,000 a year at the high point of their career. These figures stand in sharp contrast to the average UK salary, which currently stands at £26,5002.

Salary vs stimulation?
When asked about the main reason for wanting to pursue their chosen career path, finding the subject matter interesting (35%) was selected as the most important factor. This was followed by believing that the job would suit their personality (18%) and believing the job would suit their skill set (15%). However, when asked about the elements they’d prioritise in their first jobs, salary was selected as the biggest factor by almost a third (31%) of GCSE students. This was followed by the prospect for career progression (18%), whilst 17% said that they wanted a job that challenged them.

Santander is launching its new apprenticeship scheme in the Autumn of 2015. The scheme supports the new Trailblazers Apprenticeship framework introduced by the government and will be available to a wider age range; not only will it help younger people from 16 years old to start their careers, it will also be open to all age groups looking to change careers. Anyone interested in the Santander apprenticeship programme can find out more by visiting:

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Notes to Editors

1 Research conducted by YouthSight amongst 500 Year 11 students in July 2015
2 ONS wage inflation data, June 2015

Table 1: Students career path preferences on leaving school

 Career path Percentage of Year 11 students who are likely to follow this path
 College 49%
 University 41%
 Apprenticeships 7%
 Full-time employment 1%
 Starting your own business 1%
 Taking a year out to gain experience/ travel 2%

Table 2: Favoured career sectors broken down by gender

 Sector All
Female students
 Medicine/Healthcare 13% 6% 18%
 Computing/IT 9% 18% 3%
 Finance/ Accountancy/  Banking 9% 12% 7%
 Music/Art/Design 8% 5% 10%
 Academia/Teaching/Research 7% 5% 8%
 Advertising/ Marketing/ Media/  PR/  Communications/  Journalism 7% 5% 9%
 Engineering 7% 13% 4%
 Law 6% 3% 8%
 Construction/ skilled  tradesman  (plumber/electrician/carpenter  etc.) 4% 9% 1%
 Retail/Fashion 4% 2% 6%

Table 3: Reasons for pursuing a chosen career and priorities in first jobs

 Motivation All
 Main reasons for pursuing a chosen career
 I find the subject matter  interesting/ stimulating 35% 35% 35%
 I believe it will suit my  personality 18% 14% 20%
 I believe that it will suit my  skill set 15% 16% 15%
 I believe it is the best avenue  for me to achieve my  ambitions 10% 8% 11%
 I am attracted by the potential  long-term income I will  receive 5% 5% 6%
 Main priority in first full-time job
 Salary 31% 32% 30%
 Immediate potential for career  progression 18% 19% 17%
 A job that challenges me 17% 17% 17%
 Job is located close to home 11% 10% 11%
 Easy to commute to 10% 9% 10%


Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its 1|2|3 products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. As at 30 June 2015, Santander UK was the most switched to bank, attracting 1 in 4 new retail customers. The bank serves more than 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees and operates through 900 branches and 68 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us
Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and among the top 12 banks on a global basis. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.51 trillion in managed funds, 12,910 branches and 190,000 employees at the close of June 2015. In the first half of 2015, Santander made ordinary attributable profit of EUR 3,426 million, a 24% increase.

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