For many years, it has seemed as if the academic route was the one assumed route to success for young people, with not going into higher education deemed to represent failure. But the alternative represented by apprenticeships has now, it appears, gained significant recognition.
It is not just that current government policy has been increasingly favouring them. They have also been described as “coming of age” in an Evening Standard article, which began by highlighting the way an independent school in Croydon does not just publish the names of students who have gained places at top universities, but also those who are entering apprenticeships.
Head of careers at the school Sue Highmore praised the fact that apprenticeships are now more diverse than they used to be and not just for practical trades. But it may be noted that the general term ‘apprenticeship’ has gained widespread credibility.
Apprenticeship training providers in the north west may be heartened by such sentiments. The Evening Standard may be a London paper, but its editor is George Osborne, who was not just once the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but an MP in the north west of England and an architect of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ idea.
It may be that apprenticeships can play a big role in the economic development of the north west as it seeks to reach its untapped economic potential, so positive media coverage can only help.
The Evening Standard is not alone in highlighting what modern apprenticeships can offer. In an article for Business Live, the North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network highlighted its sponsorship of the ‘Excellence in Apprenticeships’ category at the North-East HR&D Awards 2023.
Co-chair of the organisation Professor Ian Green said the sponsorship is part of its efforts to highlight the opportunities that exist, support firms not yet offering apprenticeships and provide information on how to secure funding.
He added: “Supporting the award demonstrates our commitment to raising this awareness, and shows that apprenticeships are not a second choice; they’re actually a really good way for someone to enter an organisation.”