Apprenticeships 'should be given same status as university degrees' call (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Apprenticeships 'should be given same status as university degrees' call
A CUMBRIA training provider is calling for apprenticeships to be given the same status as university degrees.
Gen II, which operates five training sites across the county, including one in Furness, has made the call after revealing that youngsters are turning away from academic learning in a bid to escape cripppling student debt and more ‘bookwork’.
Now, with the government talking about introduing a prestigious ‘graduate apprenticeship’ scheme, the company is calling for people to change their attitudes towards work-based learning.
“In terms of levels of attainment, a degree is a level six or seven whereas an advanced apprenticeship is level three and a higher apprenticeship is a five or six,” said chief executive Mike Smith.
“But apprentices have a different set of skills and, unlike a lot of graduates, are ‘workplace ready’ and that is what a lot of employers are looking for. We know university graduates are bright and intelligent but employers want someone who is also savvy and good at problem-solving.”
An example, he explained, was the difference between an architect and a bricklayer.
He said: “An architect can spend five years learning how to design buildings, but if there is nobody to turn the plans into reality and build, what use is he? Society needs to acknowledge that apprentices are just as important as those who have studied in academia.”
Ulverston employer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) certainly seems to agree.
In 2012 it took on six learners. This year it will take on 50.
Steve Stewart, Ulverston site human resources lead, said: “GSK offers one of the most comprehensive training programmes in the country, providing world class training, access to qualifications and great career prospects to successful recruits.”
And GSK microbiology apprentice Josh Fitzgerald, a labs apprentice in microbiology, said: “The apprenticeship scheme has been a very positive experience.”