Schools are failing to present young people with a full range of career options, a leading construction firm has warned.
NG Bailey said schools must do better in providing guidance on routes to work.
The company has launched a number of initiatives aimed at boosting the popularity of science-based subjects, increasing apprenticeship numbers and attracting more women to the construction industry.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers provide the greatest future job security, with technical apprenticeships offering a solid start in industry, NG Bailey sustainability director Cal Bailey said.
Many schools not only fail to promote alternative career options, but view ‘earn while you learn’ schemes as a poor option.
Mr Bailey said: “Schools are often not good at promoting apprenticeships as they want kids to stay on until sixth form.
“A good alternative, and in no-way a second best, is technical apprenticeships.”
There is “an element of competition” between schools and apprenticeships, which can lead schools to focus on academic routes or view apprenticeships as “negative”, he said.
He said: “Schools should be required to present the full range of options for work. Schools have to think holistically about their role in society.”
“We’re calling on schools to do better,” Mr Bailey added.
NG Bailey has launched a programme to give year eight pupils insight into STEM careers.
Inspire will see teenagers work together on technology-related projects to be judged by representatives from the company and its apprenticeship scheme.
The firm has committed to delivering the programme to 5,000 children by 2018.
More than 5,500 people have completed apprenticeships with NG Bailey since 1969. It recently added a bids and proposals course to its long-standing electrical and mechanical engineering options.
NG Bailey is also keen to improve diversity in the construction industry, by increasing the number of female apprentices by five per cent year-on-year to 2018.