This session was led by Jane Lemar, who is Head of Employer Services at Fareham College. We were lectured about work experience, where its history, current state of affairs and future development was covered. The lecture was quite intense, where we were bombarded with statistical information, dates of various reports, reforms, changes etc. Looking back at my notes and being quite honest, I can see that I started to drift and switch-off, very early on. However, there were some interesting parts, specifically how apprenticeships are changing, with regards to the age boundaries, tax gained funding, who are leading them etc. But overall, I was not entirely engaged with this subject matter.
One interesting point was the topic of funding, which bought up some questions, regarding access and the possible abuse by larger companies, who could effectively train a large proportion of their staff to higher levels, mainly because they can.
I have a slightly jaded view on apprenticeships, mainly because of how they work, or don’t work with the arts sector. There are certain creative pathways, which can be very well supported and developed through apprenticing, an example was given about costume design and dress making within theatre companies. However, becoming an ‘artist’ is always a solo and fraught pathway, in which no apprenticeship nor degree for that matter will be able to fully support and guarantee successful employment upon completion.
However, an important topic arose from this session, which was the changing relationship between apprenticeships and education institutes. Historically, you either pursued an academic or vocational pathway; to an extent this is still the norm. However, over the years we have seen dramatic changes within education; more so within Higher Education, with student fees being at an all time high and the overall devaluation of degrees, hey how many art school graduates have a job in their chosen discipline?
At the end of the day, academia and apprenticing are businesses, they are competing for customers; so if apprenticeships are evolving and drawing in more business, colleges and universities need to take heed and look at adapting to meet the demands of the market.
That said, the two sectors should not be seen as competitors, but two sides of the same coin, with the commodity of that currency being the future.
• Read the ‘Post-16 Skills Plan‘ and study the flow chart!
I found this interesting infographic from the Association of Accounting Technicians.