Real causes of apprentice crisis

13th August 2004 at 01:00
The recent report by EFF (formerly the Engineering Employers Federation) concerning poor careers guidance causing poor uptake of apprenticeships is wholly misguided. The key issues are:

* The snobbery against vocational routes in Britain.

* The aim of sending 50 per cent of young people to higher education - a ludicrous target that stresses disproportionately to parents the relevance of HE.

* The notable absence of a formal vocational curriculum in schools. New "school-based" apprenticeships may help here.

* More needs to be done at the regional level to promote such apprenticeships and develop awareness of the options open to young people.

Every school should have an annual visit from a regional apprenticeship co-ordinator, or audio-visual materials should be produced to present a positive image of this option.

* We need to overhaul training to make it more appropriate for employers, and encourage more effective liaison with colleges.

* Employer apathy - usually concerned with bureaucracy.

Only once these issues are addressed can careers guidance and Connexions practitioners work effectively. Once the foundations are in place, then we can start building. Please do not shoot the messenger!

Jonathan Kingsbury 7A Lyburn House Lyburn Road, Normansland, Wiltshire

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