16 August 2012
Don't dumb down apprentices says ECA
On the eve of A-Level results day, electrical industry skills expert has called for firmer training standards whereby apprenticeships are not dumbed down for political reasons.
"Without setting firmer standards for training, we face a situation where anything 'non-academic' is badged as an apprenticeship," said Diane Johnson, Skills Ambassador for the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) who added that degrees weren't the only option and that government needed "to stop playing politics with the qualifications system".
Johnson warned that "all too often, vocational training is seen as the poor relation to academia.
As A-level studends waited in trepidation for results that might or might not see them into a university, she said: "Unless the government establishes a protected apprenticeship 'brand' that defines quality training, the reputation of apprenticeships will be severely damaged. They won't be seen as a credible alternative, leaving young people with fewer choices for their future." It wasn't fair to school leavers, and to industries that had offered quality apprenticeships for decades, she added.
"We are facing a perfect storm: creating a generation of unemployed, indebted young people, living in a country that faces a future skills shortage – all so the government can claim it has reduced youth unemployment. We need to value our apprentices and protect the quality of their training. This would turn the situation around and leave a lasting skills legacy that our country can be proud of. Our society needs skilled people, regardless of their qualification route."
Electrical Contractors Association
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