Apprenticeships are sometimes viewed by parents and schools as the ‘poor man’s’ qualification; something to be done if you’re not very bright or unlikely to do well, and a way for employers to bring on board ‘cheap labour’. Think ‘EastEnders’ when they need an extra pair of hands in the chip shop and the dialogue is something like ‘let’s get one of those apprentices in!’ No training in sight, no sustained employment prospects, just lots of greasy paper and Kat and Alfie to serve – yeah right! Not very inspiring for young people or their parents, is it??!!
Young people are sometimes portrayed as unreliable, work shy and totally unprepared for work. Think Harry Enfield’s exaggerated characters, Kevin and Perry, great to laugh at but definitely not real people! Not very inspiring for employers, is it??
Employers often view apprenticeships and apprentices as time wasting, arduous and far more trouble than they’re worth. Think Mr Brittas in the ‘Brittas Empire’ running around trying to boss everyone about, not training any staff properly and not achieving much in the course of a day’s work. Not very inspiring for us training providers, is it?
Given this negative and ironic point of view, why, therefore, was I sitting in Jardine Motors, one of the most prestigious car dealerships in the UK, interviewing for business apprentices?
The calibre of the applicants was outstanding!! The majority were school and college leavers, but they showed there are young people out there that WANT to do apprenticeships! They DON’T want to go to college and Uni, they WANT to be out there working and undertaking an apprenticeship. They want to be one step ahead of their counterparts going into further education and have some work experience on their CV, coupled with the apprenticeship framework qualifications. When the college leavers come out next year, they will be qualified and already experienced at doing the job – very inspiring to other young people and very inspiring for this employer!
Of course, there were some that didn’t turn up or let us know they weren’t coming – after all Harry Enfield must have got his ideas for Kevin and Perry from somewhere – and not everyone was suited to the job.
Overall though the day’s experience really proved that there are some amazing young people out there! Real, ambitious, young people who want to work, want to get on and want to do well!!
There are also some fantastic employers out there who want to inspire their workforce and invest in their young people.
Although hard work, I thorough enjoyed the day and the experience reinforced what I love about my job and the reason I get out of bed to come to work!
I would like to bang a whacking great drum out there for all young people that can be bothered to do something, especially apprentices and especially our apprentices here at ITEC!! Well done guys!! I hope this will inspire many more young people to think hard about their future and do something positive with it!!
Youth Programmes Manager
(Drum-banger and Guest blogger!!)