Chances are that you’ve already heard of higher and/or professional apprenticeships. These offer a viable alternative for those who would normally be thinking about a university pathway; in practice, they more closely resemble a traditional apprenticeship than a university degree, because students work part time and study part time, and can apply (and reinforce) what they have learnt in class almost straight away in the workplace. But instead of learning a trade, the student is acquiring professional skills in areas like IT and business.
It’s no accident that the fields in which you will find higher apprenticeships are also usually the fields which don’t technically require a degree for entry in the first place – many software developers are self-taught and prove their skills through portfolios rather than with certificates, for example, and the business world is full of those who’ve picked up their skills on the job. A degree isn’t necessarily a requirement, especially not in the early stages of a career, and higher apprenticeships give people a chance to test the waters, gain real experience and build skills that could one day be reinforced with further study.
We’ve been closely watching this space for a few years, and I think we have a long way to go in terms of educating young people (and their parents) about the merits of higher apprenticeships, but I also don’t think it’s a trend that’s going away. In the UK, Euan Blair (son of previous Prime Minister, Tony Blair) is making huge leaps in this space with Multiverse, for example, and they’ve recently announced a huge partnership with car manufacturer Jaguar to train employees to work in data analysis and collection. In Australia, PwC’s Higher Apprenticeship Program is going from strength to strength, and over 90% of graduates go on to receive an offer of employment with PwC. Training organisations like the Ai Group are also talking about higher apprenticeships.
Back to the problem of educating students and parents, a new campaign from the US aims to do just that, and recognises that 40% of all registered apprenticeships in the US are for new jobs – these are for those hard-to-fill and in-demand roles, many of them in IT, like app developers and data analysts.
If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to read the Gen Z Workforce Readiness Report from Multiverse.