Britain: apprenticeships are back in vogue

If Parlophone think they're cool, suddenly vocational training is seen as sexy again.

Ever since Margaret Thatcher's shift of emphasis to university education and Tony Blair's desire to see 50% of all young people graduate, the dual pincer of dumbed-down degrees and near-zero vocational courses has hampered the economy.

Now, Miles Leonard, newly appointed President of Parlaphone and Virgin A&R, has set up a deal with a Sussex college to train music industry apprentices.  Leonard told The Telegraph "we have just developed a groundbreaking course with the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, which offers an apprenticeship for anyone keen to learn about the music business. The one-year programme will give candidates work experience working in small groups on frontline projects. Apprentices will be tasked with monitoring and critiquing a band's or artist's progression and career path and visits to parent company EMI's office will provide a unique insight into how the music industry operates."

Forsight and business acumen combined, a stunningly effective combination.  Leonard should be congratulated.

Perhaps other businesspeople will see that linking education directly to work experience will provide the workforce they so desperately desire.  The Coalition government has re-asserted its support for "apprenticeships, internships, work pairings, and college and workplace training programmes, all with the intention of getting Britain working. This has been put into motion with the announcement that the coalition government will be redirecting £150 million of additional funding to create more than 50, 000 apprenticeships for SMEs" says, a government website.  There'll be "funding of £1 billion for over 400,000 apprenticeship places across England by 2010/11"  it goes on to say.  And "it is vital therefore that the workforces of tomorrow are given the skills for this new, economic and industrial age."

The country has been severely hampered in the recent past by people pouring out of universities with degrees in subjects that few employers need or want, gained from low level course work.  Deadline-meeting, analytical and social skills are missing.  And tradespeople find it almost impossible to recruit appropriate talent from the local labour pool. Manufacturing industry has suffered too, but this will in part be remedied by government programmes. 

What did Barack Obama say on the stump in 2010?  "Education is THE economic issue" he told a rally.   

And Tony Blair?  "Education, Education, Education" he proclaimed as his three priorities in government in 2007.   

But it isn't merely a matter of educating people, is it?  People need to enter the workforce with skills a country can employ productively, and from which individuals themelves can benefit. 

No comments:

Post a Comment