In a Guardian article published yesterday, TV presenter, Steph McGovern, explained why she is running a job clinic as part of her Channel 4 Packed Lunch tv show.
She explained: “1.7m people are unemployed, but snobbery about vocational training means many don’t realise what else they can do”.
This “skills snobbery” means that many people have a narrow view of what skills are, how you can develop skills and what a highly skilled employee looks like.
Steph started as an apprentice herself with a local college and says that the skills and experience she gained in that role has helped her throughout her career, and in her roles as a journalist and TV host, even though her apprenticeship qualification was not in a journalism-related field.
This is because the apprenticeship she did when she was young gave her transferable skills – time management, problem-solving, resilience, teamwork - which are useful, if not vital, across all job roles and industries.
Her article aligns with the approach we take at Damar Training on our apprenticeship programmes. Our aim is to develop apprentices to have the skills and behaviours that will set up them up for decades of successful careers, far beyond the short time during which they complete their qualification.
For a while now, it’s not been the case that people will only have one career in one industry during their lifetime. And this will only become more so in the future. Indeed, many of the job roles that we will need in the next 10-20 years don’t even yet exist.
For too long, education has focussed on knowledge, which quickly becomes obsolete, at the expense of skills and behaviours. And whilst we have seen some shift in attitude over the last few years, there are still a lot of employers advertising too many vacancies where university degrees and A-Levels are essential criteria. And too many parents and young people feeling like this sort of formal education is the only option for them.
Apprenticeship training must be recognised for the lifelong added value it gives to individuals and to employers.
After all, as we eventually come out of the current crisis, with record levels of unemployment, disrupted education and national debt, apprenticeships will be critical in getting individuals, businesses and the UK back on our feet.