Support to drop ‘outdated snobbery’ against apprenticeships


Principal and Chief Executive Judith Doyle has spoken out in support of action to abolish ‘outdated snobbery’ against apprenticeships and the need to ensure more independent careers advice in schools.

This week, it was announced that a new law ensuring that state schools promote apprenticeships as much as university education will be introduced this year in a bid to end the “outdated snobbery” against technical education.

The Department for Education is concerned that some schools are blocking further education colleges from speaking to pupils, in order to promote their own sixth forms.

Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education will legislate to ensure that technical colleges and companies providing apprenticeships get into schools to give careers advice to pupils.

Judith Doyle, Principal and Chief Executive at Gateshead College said: 

“Apprenticeships are the backbone of our economy and provide worthwhile career opportunities across a range of sectors, including high level jobs, as well as a chance for businesses to build a highly skilled workforce.

“At Gateshead College, we believe in impartial careers advice for all and we fully support Nicky Morgan’s comments and actions to abolish a biased careers advice system which promotes apprenticeships as second best. 

“We welcome the legislation put forward to ensure that colleges have more access to schools to help advise young people and their parents about the variety of post 16 options, including apprenticeships. By working together, we can ensure that young people receive the sound, independent and well-rounded advice they need to make decisions about their future that are right for them.”

The new law is designed to end the perception that non-academic routes are “second best”, amid concern within government that some schools are failing to present technical and professional options on an equal footing to university. 

Ministers believe some schools are unwilling to recommend apprenticeships or other technical and professional routes to any but the lowest-achieving pupils.

Nicky Morgan commented: “As part of our commitment to extend opportunity to all young people, we want to level the playing field – making sure they are aware of all the options open to them and are able to make the right choice for them.

“For many young people going to university will be the right choice, and we are committed to continuing to expand access to higher education, but for other young people the technical education provided by apprenticeships will suit them better.

Ministers believe that too many teachers are reinforcing the impression that apprenticeships are second best to academic study.

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The funding for Gateshead College apprenticeship programmes is made available via the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The Skills Funding Agency are responsible for improving the skills of England’s young people and adults to ensure we have a workforce of world-class standard. The European Social Fund is transforming lives through better skills and better job prospects.