Over half of British young people are dismissing trade apprenticeships in favour of a traditional academic career path, a recent study has found.

The research from RatedPeople.com, the UK’s largest tradesmen recommendation website, found that young people are failing to apply for apprenticeships in trade positions due to the UK’s ‘fixation with producing a nation of university graduates.’

Three-quarters of the tradesmen surveyed believe the UK is undergoing a ‘crisis’ in attracting young people to the industry, with two in five attributing this to the nation’s on-going focus on academic achievement.

Of the young people aged 16-24 surveyed, over half admitted to dismissing the trade industry to pursue an academic career path. 19% were put off by the perceived low starting salary and 16% said they didn’t want to work weekends and evenings.

The study found that 65% of tradesmen have never taken on an apprentice, with a third stating they can’t afford to hire one and nearly a fifth saying they don’t even know where to look.

The study also found that more needs to be done to inform tradesmen and young people about government support and the Government’s Apprenticeship Scheme, as two fifths of both young people and tradesmen are unaware that the scheme exists and over half of tradesmen are oblivious to the financial support they could receive.

Chris Havemann, CEO of RatedPeople.com said:

“We were surprised to see that there’s little awareness around the Government’s Apprenticeship Scheme and that young people are still convinced that the only career route worth going down is in academia. Attitudes need to be tackled both at schools and in homes to show the benefits of a career in a trade. Tradesmen are the backbone of the British economy and without new blood to the industry, a whole generation will lack the critical skills needed to build Britain.”

More still needs to be done to attract young women into the trade, as 90% of tradesmen said they had never received an application from a young woman. Better financial incentives and more room for female roles, as well as a larger focus on DIY and trades skills in schools, were said to be factors that would incite more interest in young British women.