Trades pres­tige call to par­ents, teachers

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY CALUM ROSS

Sir Ian Wood has is­sued a fresh call for par­ents and teachers to play their part in cre­at­ing a new “pres­tige” around vo­ca­tional train­ing, ap­pren­tice­ships and the trades.

The north-east oil ser­vices busi­ness­man told MSPs yes­ter­day that so­ci­ety re­quired a “mind­set change” to end the fo­cus on en­sur­ing young­sters at­tend univer­sity after school.

Sir Ian, who headed-up the Com­mis­sion for De­vel­op­ing Scot­land’s Work­force in 2013, said “real progress” had been made but a cul­ture shift was still re­quired and that par­ents and teachers must help.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence to Holy­rood’s ed­u­ca­tion com­mit­tee, he said he had ex­pe­ri­enced the same “old fash­ioned” view when he en­tered his fa­ther’s fish­ing busi­ness.

“I think we ab­so­lutely need to make ap­pren­tice­ships and trade oc­cu­pa­tions more re­spectable,” said Sir Ian, who is a grad­u­ate from Aberdeen Univer­sity and is chan­cel­lor of Robert Gor­don Univer­sity.

“We need doc­tors, we need lawyers, we need peo­ple to look at the plumb­ing in a house – we need a whole range of dif­fer­ent things. And we need to create a pres­tige about it.

“My own ex­pe­ri­ence in the north-east of Scot­land, a lot of the young­sters who didn’t go to univer­sity, but did a re­ally good tech­ni­cian train­ing, they are earn­ing more than a lot of the pro­fes­sional peo­ple are earn­ing. So money is only part of it.”

Urg­ing par­ents and teachers to change at­ti­tudes, Sir Ian added: “The vo­ca­tional oc­cu­pa­tions – every­one’s got to get a mind­set change, into un­der­stand­ing that they are worth­while, they are es­sen­tial and they are equally a part of so­ci­ety as other things we do.

“Teachers in schools are in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant. I ac­tu­ally think par­ents are the root of the prob­lem, but teachers are the next stage up be­cause a lot of them be­lieve that their suc­cess is based on how many high­ers their chil­dren get.”

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