Surveys highlight need for vocational training to combat skills shortage as university degrees lose value.

The UK insurance market must take apprenticeships and graduate recruitment seriously to secure its future, the CII has said.

The body, which is currently running a Talent Initiative, highlighted findings from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, which show that while graduate vacancies overall will be 16% higher than last year, insurance will be one of only two industries not anticipating any growth in graduate recruitment.

According to results from another survey, highlighted by the CII, 22% of employers claim UK candidates lacked adequate qualifications. It also revealed that 16% of employers could not find UK candidates with the right skills.

CII relationship manager for further and higher education Caspar Bartington used the findings to argue for greater vocational training. He said: “A sea change will be required in the parity of esteem – as so often, anything not purely academic is looked down on by many – and the key is to educate people about the different routes into employment.”

Bartington added that employers were slowly grasping the reality that many university degrees were becoming devalued and that the apprenticeship route was more attractive to school-leavers and college students not going to university.

He said: “It’s key for employers to get involved in the programme, particularly in the financial services sector which hasn’t traditionally engaged with apprenticeships in the past. With a skills shortage already identified for claims, continuation of this trend can only augur badly for the industry.”