A Message To All Parents
I recently spent a Sunday evening with the 17 year old son of a very dear and valued friend, exploring what his learning, training and career options were. This young man is bright, sharp and serious, but not completely engaged by academic study. He wants a career in science/medicine, not as a doctor but in that field of research. He wasn’t aware that he could study the same BTECs as a lab technician on one of the best apprenticeships and top those up with A Levels completed via part time study.
It’s potentially a longer route, but probably more engaging. This young man learns more by doing things rather than by learning about things, and this is exactly what the best apprenticeships provide space for. Still, he and his mother are understandably concerned about the quality of education he would receive if he followed a vocational route.
I say understandably because the chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has said himself that too many apprenticeships are of poor quality and fail to provide the skills and knowledge that employers need. Ofsted published a report into apprenticeships in October 2015 that said that:
“Despite the increase in numbers, very few apprenticeships are delivering the professional, up-to-date skills in the sectors that need them most. Employers and providers involved in poor-quality, low-level apprenticeships are wasting public funds. They are abusing the trust placed in them by government and apprentices to deliver meaningful, high-quality training.”
I know that I have a tough job to convince you that we’re not cowboy providers working with dodgy employers looking to exploit your child/student. But I do invite you to tell me what concerns remain for you about what we do after you’ve read this blog. I can’t rectify the negative experiences you or your child/student might already have had, but I can make sure that I give you the facts about what we do so you are as fully informed as possible about our learning programmes. You can then make as educated a decision as possible about advising your child or student.
If you have any questions at all about who we are, or concerns about the quality of what we do, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.