The reason why the apprenticeship system is one of the best ways to build people up for a fulfilling career is that it removes so many barriers to entry. Instead of money being the prime factor, motivation and enthusiasm are, and both of these are critical aspects of the decision to open up the teaching profession.
In early February 2024, the UK government announced the formation of a new degree-level teaching apprenticeship, which offers an additional pathway with the help of accredited providers for people to become fully qualified teachers.
The principle of using the apprenticeship system for this is similar to the Medical Doctor apprenticeship announced in 2023, which is to ensure that as many people who can enter a vital profession can do so without anything getting in the way.
At present, the main routes to becoming a teacher involve applying for a teaching degree, a postgraduate certificate in education, initial teacher training or another course that provides qualified teacher status.
These courses are degree-level, meaning that they are often full-time and expensive, which typically results in newly qualified teachers already having considerable debt to manage at the very start of their careers.
Beyond the cost, many people who want to become teachers are already working, either in or out of the profession, making it difficult for them to shoulder the time requirements to maximise their opportunity to teach.
The teacher degree apprenticeship will solve this in several ways, the most obvious of which being that all of the costs for tuition and acquiring qualified teacher status will be paid for, whilst the apprentice’s time will be split between classroom study (40 per cent) and on-the-job training.
The main target for these apprenticeships, besides older teenagers and young adults considering their options, is teaching assistants already working in British schools.
Many TAs are in a difficult position where they do not have the opportunity to commit to the next step in their career, but an apprenticeship may be their way out.
A pilot scheme is set to launch later in 2024 with up to 150 apprentices benefitting before a wider rollout potentially as early as 2025.