Higher education is still a popular option for school leavers, even with costly tuition fees. But in spite of this,attitudes to apprenticeships have changed significantly over recent years. Vocational qualifications are now considered a viable alternative to University in Wales,allowing school leavers to earn while they learn and mature students to enhance the skills and qualifications they already have. This is absolutely right.
This increase in uptake of apprenticeships supports the Welsh Government aims of delivering not just more jobs, but better jobs. The Welsh Government Valley’s Task force scheme is working in conjunction with organisations - like Educ8, in expanding shared learning and employment opportunities in the South Wales Valleys. As an Assembly Member I am able to see the need for this first hand, through the work I carry out with residents, in my constituency of Caerphilly.
Apprenticeship opportunities allow the communities of Wales to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, which considering the ever changing economic landscape, will undoubtedly require higher levels of competence. However, they also contains a strong focus on both technical and professional skills needed to facilitate quality employment opportunities within local communities throughout Wales.
Delivery of higher-level and degree-level apprenticeships is important, to address the shortage of higher-level technical skills, which Wales needs to attract for the increasingly hi-tech industries of the future.It’s wonderful to see and we need to keep sending out the right signals – that apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications should get the equivalent recognition to that of traditional academic qualifications. I will always make that case.
Assembly Member for Caerphilly