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Schools are finally being told to educate students on vocational routes

Schools will now be required educate students about vocational routes and apprenticeship options - and we couldn't be happier. 

Safeera Sarjoo
15th February 2016
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Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that in addition to this, apprenticeship providers should be given access to schools in order to shed more light on what an apprenticeship entails.

Speaking earlier on the topic, Mrs Morgan said: "As part of our commitment to extend opportunity to all young people, we want to level the playing field - making sure they are aware of all the options open to them and are able to make the right choice for them.

"For many young people, going to university will be the right choice and we are committed to continuing to expand access to Higher Education, but for other young people the technical education provided by apprenticeships will suit them better.

"That's why I'm determined to tackle the minority of schools that perpetuate an outdated snobbery towards apprenticeships by requiring those schools to give young people the chance to hear about the fantastic opportunities apprenticeships and technical education offer."

Ministers previously raised some concerns over some schools which promoted vocational education to less able students. This completely goes against the government’s plan to increase the number of apprenticeships across different sectors, which in turn will hopefully attract students with a diverse skill set. By restricting options and leaving students unaware of their options and essentially pigeon-holing them feeds into this snobbery Morgan spoke about.

Why can’t a high achieving student take up an apprenticeship in floristry or construction? Why are schools not open to the possibility that some students – regardless of their achievement level – are more suited to a technical education which apprenticeships provide, rather than university?

We know all about the government’s commitment to creating millions of apprenticeships by 2020 and while we have been keeping a close eye on the quality and standard of these opportunities, what use is this if schools feel like only underachievers should be taking up apprenticeships?

Leaving the responsibility to schools to provide careers advice and scrap independent local careers advice services has proven to be a massive mistake. This power has allowed schools to take advantage and create such a division that feeds into the same snobbery that Morgan spoke about.

Years ago taking an apprenticeship was regarded as a positive step towards starting your career. Aspiring hairdressers, construction workers and engineers were taught under the eye of professionals, which even in 2016 should be seen as an incredible experience. However while the sector has worked tirelessly to portray university as a route to success, they have damaged the view on apprenticeships.

Research conducted by City in Guilds in 2014 revealed that only 16% of parents hoped their child would take an apprenticeship.

Now that new legislation will be coming into effect fairly soon, schools will be required to liaise with training providers, university technical colleges and colleges to make sure students are aware of all their options. This should have been the case from the moment responsibility was handed over to schools and could have gone a long way in dispelling negative attitudes towards apprenticeships.

Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), echoed our thoughts and said: ‘To make informed choices for the future, young people need high quality, impartial careers information about all post-16 education and training options, including apprenticeships and technical and professional education.

‘We have long been calling for an improvement to the system and welcome the changes outlined. Colleges recognise the critical nature of good careers education and will be very keen to continue to work together with their local schools. This announcement will make that a reality.’

We’re glad to see that active steps are being taken to educate students on all of their options. It doesn’t make sense to work towards shaking off outdated attitudes if we’re not engaging core groups that are vital to bringing about this change. Creating an even playing field not only helps the government with their target to increasing the number of apprenticeships, but provides an honest landscape which will bring out the best in the next generation – shouldn’t this be our objective? 


Apprenticeships can provide some incredible opportunities and over the years they have expanded into so many different industries. Start your search on Training and Courses today. 

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