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ampersand research market research nottingham qualitative & quantitative
ampersand research market research nottingham qualitative & quantitative

To earn and to learn:  the rationale for choosing an apprenticeship

When we created ampersand research, Mark and I decided that we would conduct a piece of proprietary research each year. It would be a piece of research that we would own and could share with others. There were a number of reasons behind this:

& provide existing clients with some additional insight (nice to be nice and all that!)

& give potential clients the opportunity to see how we work (try before you buy if you like!)

& allow Mark and I to explore a topic of personal interest (in line with our ‘always and in all way researching’ philosophy)

Deciding on a topic to explore was simple. We choose an area we enjoyed researching and were interested in…education!

Over the past 2 years since we created ampersand research we have worked on a number of projects in this field. For example, Mark has measured the effect of scholarships and bursaries on undergraduates’ decision making process, whilst I have undertaken a full exploration of a university’s marketing campaign.

When we looked in more detail at our extensive portfolio of research in this sector we felt there was a gap in our knowledge surrounding apprenticeships. Although we had touched on this area, we wanted to know more about why a young person would opt for this route. Why choose this option as opposed to university or working full time or pursuing a vocational qualification?

Being the researchers that we are, we researched whether there was an appetite for the project. We shared our initial thoughts with a number of organisations and used our skills of asking questions and listening to find out what interested parties were eager to find out.

We met with FE Colleges, training providers and employers that provide apprentice programmes.

We spoke with Councils that have an active interest in this field.

We talked to universities that wanted to understand more about their ‘competition’.

We conversed with employers that were considering taking on an apprentice.

And we asked what are the hot topics surrounding apprenticeships at the moment and what are the burning questions you need answers to?

The response was phenomenal! Clearly we had a research project that was of interest to others as well as to me and Mark. The nature of the questions organisations had regarding apprenticeships meant a qualitative methodology was required, specifically group discussions. So we recruited participants to take part in sessions mid January of this year.

An overview of the topics discussed:

& Drivers behind choosing an apprenticeship: • with so many options open to young people why opt for an apprenticeship programme?

& Review of information available: • what are the key sources for finding out about apprentice programmes and is there the right / enough information out there?

& Applying for apprenticeships: • with so much choice available, how do young people decide which programmes to apply for and what was involved in the recruitment and selection process?

& Starting the apprentice programme: • were there first day nerves and does the day to day meet expectations?

& Building the ideal apprenticeship: • in the perfect world, what would young people do to attract others like themselves to choose this option?

We are now in the midst of analysing the sessions and pulling together a presentation. Results will be ready late February and we would be delighted to share them with you!

For further details please feel free to drop us an email:, or give us a call on 0115 993 2343

ampersand research: always & in all ways researching.

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