By John KimberleyJohn Kimberley, Birmingham City Business School

As regards to the Richard Review, any review of apprenticeships should be helpful in creating the right environment for the expansion and promotion of good quality apprenticeships.

The problem to date is that governments have only found interest in this area when there has been a problem with youth unemployment.  Rarely has there been a well thought-through strategy to promote good-quality apprenticeships as a form of post-school education and vocational training.

There are far too many ‘apprenticeships’ that are little more than a few weeks vocational experience.  A good quality apprenticeship would last several years, and would be a combination of

  • Primarily work-based skills training
  • Good quality vocational education
  • Training in the ‘softer’ skills of working with and alongside a range of colleagues in a workplace environment

Without all three, the apprenticeship will fall short of providing the aspiring craftsperson with the necessary credentials for a successful career.

The engineering and manufacturing industries typical of the West Midlands did this well between the years 1945-75, but sadly the demise of both the industries and the apprenticeship after 1975 has left the region with little good practice to draw upon. If the Richard Review nudges the government in the direction of those kinds of good quality apprenticeships, it is to be welcomed.

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John Kimberley

John Kimberley

Birmingham City Business School
John Kimberley

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