- 03/03/11 - The Challenge Continues
The apprenticeship campaign has already generated 228 new apprenticeships for Somerset, more than doubling the initial target of 100 apprenticeships in 100 days. The challenge continues to see how many new apprenticeships can be created by the end of April.
At the age of 16 young people face a decision that will shape their future - stay on at school or College or find a job? Apprenticeships offer a way of doing both?
Advice and information
Making this decision can be daunting but there is a lot of professional advice and support available, particularly from staff at colleges and schools, and from careers and connexions officers.
Every year Strode College in Street holds meetings at local schools with year 11 and 10 pupils. They explain the options for further study and how these relate to future careers, apprenticeships and higher education. Strode also holds Open Evenings where pupils and parents can meet staff and ask questions, and there are College Experience Days where pupils try out subjects and College life.
As part of the Apprenticeship Campaign, Strode's Apprenticeship Road Show is currently touring local schools, handing out information and encouraging pupils to find out more.
A teacher's view
When the Road Show visited Crispin School in Street recently, Deputy Head teacher, Kevin Griffiths, explained why he thinks apprenticeships are a good option for some young people.
Mr Griffiths said: "At 14 we offer our pupils vocational courses alongside traditional subjects. Like apprenticeships, these courses combine different styles of learning - classroom and practical - and this suits some young people better than full-time classroom study."
"Apprenticeships help solve the chicken and egg scenario faced by young people - how do you get a job without experience, but how do you get experience before getting a job? And, they help young people become more grounded and responsible, as they put theoretical learning into practice and adapt to the working environment.
"Deciding what to do after the age of 16 is a big decision for our pupils and their parents, but there is support to help them make the right choice. We encourage pupils to think about what they enjoy and what they are good at, as well as what careers they might want to follow. We ask them to keep an open mind about where their choices may lead and we encourage them to be ambitious. More apprenticeship vacancies mean more opportunities for our young people, and that's great."
Options for the future
Chris Harvey, Strode College Careers Adviser, talks to many young people about their education and career choices. For him apprenticeships are another great option.
Mr Harvey said: "Choosing an apprenticeship means you get the skills and experience that go with being in the workplace. At the same time you get the knowledge that goes with studying for a National Vocational Qualification rather than being in a job without qualifications.
"An apprentice will have plenty of options in the future if they choose to build a career within their company or elsewhere. They might even consider studying for further qualifications when they have finished the apprenticeship. It's important to keep an open mind and make the most of opportunities that arise."