Advice Centre

Ofsted & Apprenticeships

Gemma Fishel - Monday, November 02, 2015

Last month the Ofsted Chief, Sir Michael, expressed a deepening concern about the number of school leavers starting apprenticeships. The post-16 decision after GCSEs is becoming a much more serious matter for students when deciding the right path to start their career, and at such a young age it’s a lot of pressure.

A lot of the students we talk to express that, at this age especially, they still aren’t sure what they want to do as they get older, but instead prefer the option of being able to work it out for themselves practically. For example, through an apprenticeship. So in order to provide the best guidance possible, it’s important that school staff make sure all the available information is shared with the students so that they can make the best informed decision that suits their needs accordingly.

This is one of the main matters that were touched upon in Sir Michael’s speech to the MPs. Stating that Ofsted will be; “Asking a lot more about careers guidance than ever before,” as the mere 6% of students only going into apprenticeships is appalling. The pressure that schools give to retain students in their own Sixth Forms to then progress onto university is the main barrier that Ofsted will face when tackling this issue.The focus needs to go back to directing the youngsters what suits them the best and be more practical in guiding 16 year olds onto the best route.

Apprenticeships provide great hands-on work experience, which will be in high demand when these students start applying for bigger career focused roles later on down the line. Continuing in full time education for an additional 5 years can potentially hinder the process if the opportunities to work and gain extra training aren’t highlighted along the way. With the right information being shared the process of making this big decision can become more flexible and a lot easier for those wanting to integrate into full-time work a lot quicker after school. Especially with new statistics showing that apprentices could potentially earn up to £50,000 more than university graduates due to such reason like elimination the skills gap that so many companies face.

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