This report looks at the potential of apprenticeships to act as drivers of social mobility in the UK. It challenges the notion that graduates necessarily earn more than their peers who pursue vocational qualifications. While this is still the overall trend, research for this report shows that higher apprenticeships can lead to greater lifetime earnings than undergraduate degrees from some of the UK's less selective universities. Degrees from Oxbridge and Russell Group universities remain the surest route to higher wages, but there is evidence that the earning power of apprenticeships is increasing.
However, for apprenticeships to be genuine paths to success for young people, they need to be more widely available and better understood. The proportion of apprenticeships at levels 4 and 5 (higher) - the best apprenticeships - needs to be increased,in addition to ensuring that level 3 (advanced), rather than level 2 (intermediate) is the minimum standard for most apprenticeships targeted at young people.