Apprenticeships are the hot topic at the moment in the UK. The government and industry alike have accepted that there is a lack of skilled young people entering the workforce, and have realised the solution to this is offering "earn while you learn" opportunities in the form of apprenticeships. They are certainly not the norm, UCAS applications are mandatory for students to complete in many schools, and so going to university is the natural progression. It's not the best option for everyone though. With rising fees and the highest unemployment rates among graduates the UK has ever seen, attitudes are changing. And thankfully, the Government are looking to countries that have got it right to see how we can improve our system. Switzerland. A country with fine slopes, great chocolate and a generation of young people who have a promising career path at a much younger age than their UK counterparts. Around 60% of Swiss school leavers take up apprenticeships after they finish studying, so it is fair to say they are an integral part of their education system. One student commented, "For me the decision was easy. Most of the students at my school got apprenticeships, my dad did an apprenticeship; it's a normal thing to do here. I'm looking forward to working for a few more years before going to university." The result- A young and skilled workforce that have job security from a very early age, something we are keen to see in the UK. Their system works so well because they take career guidance seriously, employers are actively involved in making sure young people are aware of the choices available to them, and politics are kept out of the equation. Looking at the UK, although politics are never far away from any decisions made on a national level, employers are increasing their presence in schools and our career guidance system is going through a complete overhaul. Its reassuring to know that changes are taking place and that students, employers and career professionals are getting more clued up on the wealth of opportunities available.
The Swiss embassy is holding an Apprenticeship Day for young people, parents and career professionals to attend on the 7th August. It is a free event but places are limited. For more information please click here.