The Department for Education has launched its new ‘Fire it Up’ campaign, designed to raise awareness about the huge variety of apprenticeship options available for people of all ages and backgrounds and the positive impact they can have for apprentices and employers.
Although employers report high satisfaction with apprenticeships, many parents and school advisors still don’t consider technical qualifications alongside a university route to work. Less than a fifth say that apprenticeships would offer their child a high-quality alternative to a traditional academic route, and just 29% of young apprentices report that they pursued an apprenticeship following advice from their parents – prompting Education Secretary Damian Hinds to warn in December 2018 that Britain must drop its ‘snobby’ attitude’ to technical and vocational education, or risk being left behind our European neighbours after Brexit, with a widening productivity gap.
The new campaign, which includes national TV and social media adverts and a new ‘one-stop shop’ website that provides helpful information as well as access to thousands of apprenticeship opportunities across the country, will ensure that young people, parents, teachers do not see the full-time academic route as the only valid route into well paid, sought after careers.
Aimen Fatima, Specialist Lab Support Technology Apprentice at the University of Manchester, said: “Choosing an apprenticeship was the best decision I have made, it has given me opportunities I would not have had otherwise been exposed to or dreamt of. My apprenticeship as a specialist apprentice laboratory technician working for The University of Manchester, ensures I get to work in different and challenging laboratory settings across the whole of the campus. I was also given the opportunity to travel to Sweden, completing overseas work experience with a Damsel Fly research group.
“Alongside all this valuable experience I am now working towards completing a degree in Chemical Science, which will equip me with the knowledge to help me understand my role further.
“I would strongly encourage others to consider an apprenticeship as route into employment and learning. As an apprentice you will earn money, valuable experience and qualifications at the same time! My skills are well developed and this is what employers want from prospective employees today.”