Kent Messenger Column- 26-02-18
No one person's journey in life is the same, we all have different aspirations and talents and it is crucial that our education system reflects this. We must not adopt a 'one size fits all' approach but instead provide a broad array of pathways which suit the needs of our young people.
Apprenticeships are part of the solution as they provide an opportunity for people to earn a salary whilst they learn a new skill and offer a direct passage into a career. They are also transformational for businesses as they engender loyalty and allow employers to develop the unique requirements they need for their workforce.
It became apparent however, during recent conversations with sixth form students, that more needs to be done to make our young people aware of the benefits that an apprenticeship could provide. It was with this in mind that Tracey Crouch and I organised and hosted the inaugural Maidstone Apprenticeship Fair last week.
The fair brought together 50 apprentice employers, including Rolls-Royce, Barclays, Kent Police, BAE Systems and the Army; as well as over 600 school children. It allowed the students to find out about the enormous range of apprenticeships available in a huge array of sectors from accountancy to engineering to the fire service. It was hugely pleasing to hear stories from some of the young people who had previously been unsure about their post-school pathway and who were now inspired to undertake an apprenticeship.
In bringing the Fair to life we received valuable support from organisations across our community; most notably from our wonderful hosts at Maidstone Leisure Centre and the ever reliable 36 engineer regiment, so a huge thank you to them.
I very much hope that this event can become a regular fixture in Maidstone and the Weald's education and business landscape so that our young people can be better informed about the choices available to them upon leaving school.
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