Teachers are one of the biggest influences when it comes to the careers choices young people make – and increasingly, that means they also need to be aware of the growing number of technical routes available alongside the route from GCSEs to A levels and then university.
But with the government’s ongoing reform of the apprenticeship and technical education system, 400 apprenticeship standards available and hundreds of schemes providing access to all industries, being well-informed of the opportunities out there is becoming ever more challenging for teachers.
To help tackle this, Tes is launching its #InspiringApprentices campaign on the eve of National Apprenticeship Week – the annual celebration of apprenticeships which kicks off tomorrow. The campaign will showcase to teachers and all those working in the education system what today’s apprenticeships are actually like, and the breadth of opportunities available at all levels. It will do so in the words of the apprentices themselves.
More on this: Apprenticeships 'not for the brightest pupils'
Background: National Apprenticeship Week 2019: Need to know
This week, Tes will publish a new account every day by an apprentice telling their own story, and, following National Apprenticeship Week, #InspiringApprentices will continue as a weekly blog.
Tes editor Ann Mroz said: “Research confirms what many of us will instinctively have suspected – teachers are unlikely to recommend apprenticeships to their brightest pupils and instead will think of that route as an option predominantly for those who struggle with the academic demands of school.
“But the apprenticeship landscape is changing – there is now a broader range of routes available than ever before, providing stepping stones into careers in fields from engineering to HR and fashion. They can be a great choice for students at all levels and from all backgrounds, and young people should be made aware of the opportunities out there for them.
“We know how difficult it is to keep up to date with the fast-changing apprenticeship landscape, and so from tomorrow, just in time for the start of National Apprenticeship Week, our #InspiringApprentices campaign will introduce you to some of the successful apprenticeships out there, giving you a real insight into what being an apprentice really means. And who could do that better than the apprentices themselves?”
'Showcasing extraordinary young people'
Jason Holt, chair of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (AAN) said: “The apprentice promise has changed. It is has never been a more relevant option for your students. I have seen lives change and many of my best employees started as apprentices. I implore you to check it out.”
He added: “Thank you to Tes for showcasing some of the extraordinary young people who are apprenticed in jobs around the country and who are inspiring others to follow in this exciting new world of apprenticeships.
In a survey published by the Get Into Teaching campaign in November, 82 per cent of people said teachers were very, or quite, influential on the lives of others. More than a third (36 per cent) of the 3,002 respondents in England aged over 16 said school or university was one of the biggest influences on their life - topped only by family life (58 per cent) and work life (40 per cent).
But another survey in July, by the Sutton Trust, found two-thirds of secondary school teachers would not recommend apprenticeships to pupils with good grades, despite results from the same survey showing that a similar proportion (64 per cent) of 11- to 16-year-olds would prefer to undertake an apprenticeship rather than go to university if the option was available in their desired career.