Published on June 25th, 2013 |
by Stephen Hoffman
Image © Richard Mayou
WHY INCREASING APPRENTICESHIPS WILL HELP YOUNG ADULTS
One of the biggest things successive governments have ignored is that not every single school leaver wants to attend University. Many people would prefer simply to go into the world of work and learn the tools of the trade. This doesn’t make them any less important, but in our obsession with trying to get many people into university, we ignore that University isn’t for everyone. There is one opportunity outside the university bubble, which is just as important as a degree and that is apprenticeships. By 2010 the number of apprenticeships which at its height 30 years previously had been in the hundreds of thousands had dwindled to nearly zero.
Thankfully many of the MPs of the class of 2010 led by the hardworking Robert Halfon MP realised the importance of apprenticeships. For apprenticeships to be successful there needs to be leadership from the top. This means that MPs don’t need to just talk a good game when it comes to apprenticeships, but act on it. This is why one of the best schemes in Parliament is the Parliamentary apprenticeship scheme through the Parliamentary Academy. The scheme provides young adults with the chance of a lifetime to work in Parliament. This provides them with research and campaigning skills, as well as important life skills such as how to work well in a team and within an office.
Since Robert Halfon introduced apprenticeships into Parliament, 20 more MPs from across the political spectrum have followed suit. It is not enough though when you consider that there are over 650 MPs. For politicians to show they have faith in apprenticeships, which provide a vital lifeline to young adults the take up has to be much higher. In this way more young people can feel that they have a stake in the political system and not feel excluded and disenchanted with it. It also helps tackle unemployment of people between the ages of 16-24, which currently stands at over 1 million.
Apprenticeships are a way of providing important skills for young people, which will set them on the pathway to work and provide them with skills that will greatly increase job prospects. Essentially then due to this an apprenticeship is an investment in a young person from whatever their background, which they may otherwise not get.
A rosier picture is starting to emerge with apprenticeships. In 2011 figures for apprenticeships outside Parliament were up to over 450,000 up a staggering 63.5% from 2010. This has provides thousands of school leavers with hope. It also shows that contrary to the popular myth you can be happy and successful without going to University. This would not have been possible without the Higher Apprenticeship Fund that has put £18.7 million into apprentice schemes across the UK, creating 19,000 higher level apprenticeships including positions at well known companies like TNT and Unilever.
Apprenticeships provide individuals with practical work that leads them to the path of prosperity. We need to do all we can to continue the work since 2010 that has led to the rise of apprenticeships. In this way we can help fight back against the scourge of youth unemployment and provide people who don’t go to University the same opportunities as those who do go to University.
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