A case of prestige
Sir Ian Wood is a firm believer that apprenticeships and vocational qualifications should be held in higher esteem by parents and employers.
He recently said – at the launch of a new jobs task force – that apprenticeships were one of the most effective means of training young people.
Sir Ian also said that parents need to stop “deifying” universities and put more store in colleges and vocational qualifications.
He said: “Parents right across the whole of society speak as if going to college was failure – that non-university was failure. And they actually had bright enough kids with a lot of capability and potential.”
“I think we must stop deifying universities – they cover a massive amount of subjects, many of which are also offered by colleges. Parents are going to have to alter their outlook.”
Sir Ian also said the north-east should carry the torch for Scotland in the drive to reduce unemployment among the country’s young people.
“We are very lucky in this part of Scotland. In terms of prospects, we have got a whole bunch of youngsters, whether we call them technicians or tradesmen, who are 25 to 30 years old and they’re earning £30,000, £40,000, £50,000 a year, while graduates can’t get a job,” he said.
The task force Developing the Young Workforce for the north-east, which aims to create more apprenticeships and improved work experience placements, originated through a key recommendation of a youth employment commission headed by Sir Ian.
The commission’s final report found that apprenticeships should be prioritised as a means of getting more young people into work and should be developed in partnership with employers.
It also said the cost of apprenticeships should be lowered to encourage more small and medium-sized companies to hire young people.