Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Return of the Apprentice?

According to a report filed by UK’s Guardian yesterday, British employers find apprentices are worth more to their businesses than university graduates. City & Guilds, which awards qualifications for apprentices, surveyed 500 employers, and results of this poll showed that half had hired apprentices, and 52% of those employers said they were better value than graduates.

Also, Pearson Professional and Vocational Training – part of education publisher Pearson plc – polled 1,100 adults in the UK. Almost half, 46%, said the predicted increase of university tuition fees rising up to £9,000 a year from 2012(?) had made them more likely to consider – or recommend – an apprenticeship.

But it has been pointed out that a fifth of all the businesses surveyed said the current economic climate made it too risky to take on an apprentice.

This is the talk in the UK and it presents an interesting proposition that is also worth considerinbg in Malaysia itself. I do believe it has more relevance here, given the average quality of graduates we are producing. To be sure, I run the risk of generalizing the smart young people who have degrees in this country – but having been in the lecturing line for just over eight years, I have seen many of these graduates struggling to fit into a competitive workplace environment. Those who can fit in will surely be successful, but what about the rest?

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