HS2 skills

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Why Education and Apprenticeships are Vital to Achieving HS2's Ambitious Vision | Skills on Track

Jessica Tabinor Rail and Transportation

HS2 skills
Morson held a roundtable debate with HS2 and key representatives from the supply chain to discuss how we futureproof the rail industry in line with HS2’s skills, employment and education targets. 

Our debate concluded that more is needed at a school level to provide a rounded view on the training and career options offered by major projects. Currently, sixth forms and colleges strive to meet targets in the number of students that go on to a sustained positive destination, be that further study, training or employment. However, these national and local tables lack clarity in the actual number of learners pursuing an apprenticeship and those that successfully secure a role within industry once their training completes. 

If we are to successfully deliver HS2 and achieve the Government’s wider skills target of three million new apprenticeships by 2020 then more must also be done to rethink the data and reporting requirements to provide a clearer picture of apprenticeship success and to incentivise this career path. Without this, teachers of Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 are still likely to persuade students to pursue traditional academic routes, and in particular university, rather than a hands-on approach to learning. 

According to TES (Times Educational Supplement), a third of graduates regret going to university due to spiralling student debt and many leave their course with a lack of industry-ready skills and experience that employers want and need - something that does not form part of the course guide when applying for university.

THE SOLUTION

In order to make ‘apprenticeships the norm’, the Government must also prioritise more spending and focus on educating people at a far younger age by giving teachers better insights and tools in order to become apprenticeship ambassadors. 

Developing positive attitudes towards vocational training at primary school age will mean that an apprenticeship is never viewed as ‘second best’. Leaving it until secondary school and college age is often too late, as by this time young people have already been heavily influenced by their peers, teachers and parents. 

Redesigning the curriculum and course offering to focus less on routes into specific jobs and instead, more on long-term careers is another positive solution to attracting more apprentices to HS2. The point was raised that very few young people grow up saying ‘I want to be a track operative’, but rather, ‘I want to work in engineering’. 

Only through lobbying will we transform apprenticeship pathways in schools, colleges and universities. By working together with ministers, employers and education providers, we will lobby to transform education targets to create fit-for-purpose solutions that best meet the needs of employers, students and teachers. 

Incorporating targets in non-university routes will ensure career advice is more inclusive and by developing a coordinated application process to apprenticeships, similar to UCAS, will give young people, parents and schools the confidence that they are choosing quality training routes with reputable providers.
 

Download our whitepaper to read more about the solutions that are needed if we are to achieve HS2’s vision of being a catalyst for growth across Britain. Or click here to find your opportunity on HS2.​