November 11, 2013

The cult of university, Ctd

Hilary French, headmistress of Central Newcastle High School wants school leavers to shift their fixed gazed from university and towards industry. She has said she wants a "shift of focus away from university as the automatic first choice next step for sixthformers and a turn instead to employment." She further said:
"I'd like to challenge independent schools heads to embrace this. Parents too. There is huge potential in employer training courses and the new calibre of apprenticeships emerging. We must not be sniffy about them. Yes, at the moment we may associate apprenticeships with lower-level vocational training, but this need not be the case." 
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council spoke to the same effect. Calling for more work-based training he said:
"University is not always the best route to fulfilling job or maximising your job prospects."
The 18 year Amina Tagari from Preston has opted for an employer-sponsored training scheme as opposed to university. She explained her logic: 
"Most of my friends went to university - they sit in classes taking notes whereas I feel I am getting experience as well as learning. I will be more employable as a result."
Another young person, Nikki Cusworth (23) took an apprenticeship over a degree after the experience of the interview process for the apprenticeship. She said:
"At the interview, the practical experience I would gain blew me away. I decided I was willing to a HND through the scheme rather than an honours degree because the skills would be such an asset in my career."
My previous blog post in the cult of university series here featured another 18 year old who opted out of university. Thomas Gunning explained his decision to take an apprenticeship with PWC over university:
"I would have left university around £60,000 in debt. If I had done the degree, I would still have to complete an accountancy qualification after that. This way I am ahead of the game."
The skills minister Matthew Hancock has admitted that the elevation of academic learning to the position of par excellence has damaged the workforce. He said:
"Apprenticeships are a crucial part of addressing Britain's skills gap - concentrating only on academic training to the exclusion of technical training was a big mistake."
The reporters Sian Griffiths and Kathryn Cooper reported that the number of high level apprenticeships is small but growing. From 1,500 in 2009 to roughly 5,300 in this year. Full report in the Sunday Times, 'Top head urges schoolgirls to jet into job' here. Previous posts on the cult of university here, here, here and here.

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