Pride in our ap­pren­tices

TES (Times Education Supplement) - - FURTHER -

EAR­LIER THIS month, I met a kilt-maker. By hand, this woman has, over her 40-year ca­reer, made tens of thou­sands of kilts. In count­less of hours of in­cred­i­bly pre­cise sewing, she has turned yards of fabric into that most iconic of Scot­tish gar­ments, pleat by pleat.

Her level of skills is un­ques­tion­able. She did, af­ter all, start off as an ap­pren­tice. And her ex­am­ple epit­o­mises ap­pren­tice­ships at their best.

They equip some­one with key skills, and set them on the path to a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in a hands-on way, while they get a salary. And they carry a rep­u­ta­tion of ex­cel­lence. But we know that else­where in the world, be­ing an ap­pren­tice comes with a sta­tus that many here can sadly only dream of.

This week, Tim Camp­bell, Lord Sugar’s first TV Ap­pren­tice, tells us why ap­pren­tice­ships are so es­sen­tial (see pages 56-57). But his is a unique story. Too rarely is an ap­pren­tice­ship a thing of such pride for a par­tic­i­pant. That needs to change. And maybe role mod­els like him can help. Maybe they can help us to see ap­pren­tice­ships as the unique step­ping stones they are, in­stead of just num­bers en route to a gov­ern­ment tar­get.

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