This last week saw the 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) supported by Amazing Apprenticeships and a diverse range of fantastic organisations. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of and profile of apprenticeships; the breadth of opportunity but also the differing levels, starting points and progression opportunities from Level 2 through to Level 7.
This is the fifth year, that as a school, we have actively supported NAW and spoke to the students about the huge range of opportunities that are out there. However, there is still the assertion that we don’t do enough; not just from students but from public figures like Lord Agnew. It is not our role to tell students what is right for them; it is our job to inform and inspire – students can’t dream what they don’t know. However, a dream is just a goal without a deadline; we need to equip them with the right tools to be successful in whatever the right opportunity is for the individual.
As a school we want our students to be accomplished in every sense of the word; they need to adopt the right behaviour, attitude and dispositions that allows them to be their own success story. What students choose to do after school is entirely up to them (and their parents/carers); we can only advise and share information so that students can make truly informed decisions. Some of the reality, especially at 16 can be scary; as an apprentice you are employees and you are responsible for you, your learning and delivering for your employer; this includes finding and paying for your own transport. This is the glamorous reality of students assuming they are “just going to get an apprenticeship”. That said, some are ready for that responsibility, some will thrive on it; right opportunity, right person, right time – you’ve just got to know where to look.
One advantage the UCAS process has is that it is one central admissions system where one application covers up to five different applications and it runs inline with the academic year. High quality apprenticeships appear at any time, they cover a multitude of disciplines and organisations and each application and selection process is slightly different. We can’t tell students which is the best apprenticeship, no more than we can tell them which is the best college/university/course. It has to be about the right opportunity for the right person and the right time. All students are supported with high quality, impartial advice and guidance.
During the course of NAW some additional things that we have done as a Careers team are:
- Lead assemblies for Years 9, 10 and 11
- Invited the ASK service in to discuss Higher and Degree Apprenticeships with Years 11, 12 and 13
- A range of tutor-led activities provided to complete in PSHE time
- Teachers and Sixth Form students got an ’email a day’ highlighting some great facts and resources to support finding and understanding apprenticeships as a progression opportunity
- Streamed The Big Assembly in the Advanced Study Centre for Sixth Form students
- Displayed the latest Amazing Apprenticeships posters
- Updated digital display screens with NAW information
- Encouraged students to access their Unifrog accounts and/or make a one to one appointment with our Careers Advisor
In general we got people discussing apprenticeships and researching their options. Our core message when we talk to any of our students from Year 9 through to 13 is: