Apprenticeships - are they worth the excitement?
As a teacher of 13 years, I have to admit that the rise of 'apprenticeships' had largely passed me by. Working most recently in an independent school, the push was certainly on the traditional academic route - GCSEs to A Levels to University. And this is no bad thing for the most part; the vast, vast majority of ex-students I meet speak in glowing terms about their experiences and how they have led to the careers and lifestyles they currently have.
However, working with globalbridge has really opened my eyes to the alternatives. 'Work place learning' (as i think the vocational training route was once trendily referred to), where young people gain experience in an organisation from the ground up while (often) working towards a qualification is a real consideration that young people HAVE to be aware of in the contemporary world. In times of crippling student debt and a saturated Higher Education sector, this route may indeed offer an advantage.
And so to apprenticeships. Traditionally, apprenticeships have (un-rightly so) been seen purely as the route for the less academically inclined. However, with the Government's apprenticeship levy to support organisations with their apprenticeship training, industry is starting to invest heavily in the 'new version' of apprenticeship. These 'Apprenticeship 2.0', including the much coveted degree apprenticeship, combine on-the-job training with (often outstanding) classroom learning, giving young people the foundation knowledge and first-hand experience to build vital skills. Young people 'earn while they learn' working towards industry recognised qualifications. They kickstart their career early, build confidence and contacts and, crucially in today's day and age, do not have the millstone of student-loan debt hanging over them. But the benefits aren't just for the apprentice; organisations who invest in apprenticeships now realise that they are gaining individuals who are motivated, who bring fresh and innovative skills and knowledge, and who (so the research suggests) are more likely to stay with an employer who has invested in them.
Through a quality apprenticeship scheme organisations are absolutely investing in their future workforce by nurturing talent as early as possible.
The problem we now face is how to change societies perceptions of apprenticeships. The first stage is ensuring that our amazing young people are exposed to the opportunities that are out there through quality careers support in schools. globalbridge should be (and in many cases is) part of this as it provides a network of these opportunities and the ability for young people to connect with the providers. And the providers can see that the young person is right for their opportunity by viewing their globalbridge profile - this saves time and money in the long term. Additionally, it is important that the Government continue to support apprenticeships financially, showing that they are willing to invest in quality, industry focused training. We know this will benefit the country in the long term! If these things happen, the apprentice is very likely to become the master. BB