Ethnic Disparities and Apprenticeship Participation among Young People in England

This research aims to explore to explore ethnic disparities and apprenticeship participation among young people in England.

About the study

Research has identified several barriers young people face in accessing and completing apprenticeships. However, this research provides little insight into specific experiences of those from marginalised and minoritised groups. This is particularly the case for young people from minority ethnic groups: analysis of Department for Education (DfE) data shows disparities in apprenticeship participation and completion among Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi young people, but a lack of specific research means that the drivers of these disparities are unclear.

Within this context, Youth Futures have commissioned the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to explore the experiences of young people from minority ethnic groups undertaking apprenticeships in England. The research will include interviews with academic experts and voluntary and community sector representatives, interviews with employers and training providers, and focus group research with young people.

The findings of this research will contribute to wider knowledge on ethnic disparities in apprenticeships across England. They will also be used to inform Youth Futures’ subsequent research and policy response to this issue.The project advisory group consists of Youth Futures staff as well as representatives from Action for Race Equality, The Runnymede Trust, and the Department for Education.

The project advisory group consists of Youth Futures staff as well as representatives from Action for Race Equality, The Runnymede Trust, and the Department for Education.

What will taking part involve?

Employers

Employers will be invited to take part in an interview with a NatCen researcher. The interview will last up to 60 minutes and will be carried out online via Microsoft Teams or via telephone. Interviews will take place in July and August 2024.

The interview will seek to explore employers’ approach to the recruitment and retention of apprentices from minority ethnic backgrounds; their views on the information and beliefs young people have about apprenticeships; factors behind young people’s decision-making about apprenticeships; as well as their views on recent apprenticeship policies. The interviews will also try to understand employers’ perceptions and experiences of ethnic disparities across apprenticeships in England, as well as specifically in their region and sector.

The interviews will be anonymous and confidential.

Training providers

Training providers will be invited to take part in an interview with a NatCen researcher. The interview will last up to 60 minutes and will be carried out online via Microsoft Teams or via telephone. Interviews will take place in July and August 2024.

The interview will seek to explore training providers’ views on the information and beliefs young people have about apprenticeships; their approach to training for apprenticeships; factors behind young people’s decision-making about apprenticeships; as well as their views on recent apprenticeship policies. The interviews will also try to understand training providers’ perceptions and experiences of ethnic disparities across apprenticeships in England, as well as specifically in their region and sector.

The interviews will be anonymous and confidential.

Young people

Young people (aged 19-24) from minority ethnic backgrounds will be invited to participate in 90-minute online focus groups. The focus group discussions will explore the following:

  • Factors that contribute to decision-making to enter an apprenticeship
  • Sources of information used when considering an apprenticeship
  • Expectations of undertaking an apprenticeship
  • Experiences of undertaking an apprenticeship, both positive and negative experiences
  • Factors that contribute to consideration or decision to withdraw from an apprenticeship

Each focus group will bring together young people living in the same geographical area with experience undertaking an apprenticeship in a similar industry. Focus groups will be conducted with participants from single minority ethnic groups so that participants are able to talk more freely about their experiences and to avoid the homogenisation of experiences.

What will happen to any information I give?

With the participants’ permission, interviews will be audio recorded and transcribed to provide an accurate record of what participants say. The audio recordings and transcripts will be stored securely at NatCen and only the research team at NatCen will have access to them. The recording, transcript and all other documents which include identifiable information (for example, names) will be deleted 12 months after the project ends, which we expect to be by October 2025.

Participants’ views will be included in a final, published research report. Views contained in the final report will not be attributed to specific individuals or organisations.

All data will be treated with confidentiality and will be anonymised. However, we will specify regions and sectors as a part of our reporting (for example, an employer in the health sector in London).

Only NatCen’s research team will know that an individual or organisation has taken part in this research. Youth Futures and their advisory group will not receive any details about research participants.

Privacy notice

You can read the privacy notice for the employers and training providers here.

Contact us

If you have questions about this study, please email edap@natcen.ac.uk