This year’s National Apprenticeship Week runs from 5 to 9 March and we want to tell 10,000 people why apprenticeships work. I have signed up to give a talk at a school local to me. Over the years, apprenticeships have been a highly debated topic, with much discussion over how we will not only raise the prestige of apprenticeships but make students aware of the option.
Finally, the tide may have turned. Thanks to the Baker Clause, all local authority-maintained schools and academies must give education and training providers the opportunity to talk to pupils in years 8 to 13 about approved technical qualifications and apprenticeships from 2 January 2018.
This has laid the foundations for the theme of this year’s NAW. Schools can be a part of the 10,000 Talks movement by inviting a passionate apprentice, or former apprentice, to talk to their students about their experience and help inspire the next generation.
Recently, Cambridge University announced they will offer apprenticeships for the first time as an alternative to conventional degrees. Other universities, including Bath Spa and Brighton, already offer vocational courses alongside tuition fee-paying degrees.
Elite apprenticeships, which combine working with study, are fast becoming an alternative to conventional university. The civil service is the biggest provider of higher and degree apprenticeships, followed by BAE Systems, the aerospace company, and PWC, the accountancy firm. Some employers predict that they will eventually overtake graduate recruitment programmes.
It has been suggested that these apprenticeships offer an alternative to accruing high levels of student debt, and a solution to skill shortages in the engineering and technology sectors. Many say that apprenticeships at Cambridge University is great news because it will help build the prestige of apprenticeships. It is sad that it takes a top university to offer apprenticeships for many to see them as prestige, as to a huge variety of people they are a great option. Nonetheless, I am thrilled that more people are seeing the huge benefits of apprenticeships and how they can offer a debt free alternative to conventional university.
You can join the #10kTalks movement and be one of many apprentices, former apprentices, apprentice champions, employers, industry bodies, MPs and more to deliver a talk on why apprenticeships work. By sharing your story with #10kTalks, you can show others why they too should seize the opportunities apprenticeships offer.