Pablo Lloyd is the CEO and co-founder of Activate Apprenticeships and Activate Business School. In his fourth opinion piece, Pablo talks about the preconceptions of apprenticeships.
“They are like A-levels, for people who find A-levels too hard.”
This is what I recently heard a parent say about apprenticeship. Let’s face it, many people still hold this prejudice. Even well-intentioned leaders talk uninspiringly about reaching ‘parity of esteem’ with academic qualifications.
It’s time for apprenticeships to grow up. Not to compare themselves with their academic sibling, but to have their own ambition.
Many years ago I did a degree and followed it with something which would now be called an apprenticeship; three years of work and study leading to a professional qualification. Looking back, the difference is very clear – the degree taught me how to study, the apprenticeship taught me how to work. They each have their value, but they should not be measured on the same scale.
Any prejudices about apprenticeships stem from our narrow view of intelligence.
IQ scores and exam grades are still common currencies. Daniel Goleman popularised emotional intelligence 20 years ago, but I have yet to see a CV or LinkedIn profile with an EQ score alongside academic qualifications. That is why recruitment processes are less focused on exam grades. They are more focused on evidence of positive behaviours, teamwork and practical problem-solving.
Apprenticeships not only develop a specialist skill set, but also the behaviours required by employers.
Let’s appreciate them for what they are, a mark of practical intelligence and applied craft.
Take a look at Pablo’s previous thought pieces here.