Learning a trade

In Britain, the government will propose part-time apprenticeships for students starting at 14.

Pupils as young as 14 will be allowed to leave the classroom for two days a week to learn a trade under plans to tackle skill shortages and motivate disillusioned children.

. . . They will learn alongside skilled workers such as plumbers, joiners and information technology operators.

Apprentices would spend one day a week at a college (a trade college?) and two days at a regular school. They’d leave school at 16 with a vocational certificate and be able to go on to a full-time paid apprenticeship.

In the U.S., apprenticeship proposals tend to fall apart because of union resistance and employers’ fear of lawsuits and of incompetent teen-agers. We’re also much more committed here to the idea that everyone — regardless of motivation or ability — should go to college.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Walter Wallis says:

    Craft apprenticeships should give a bachelor’s degree upon completion. Most liberal arts courses should not, since their value to civilization is questionable.

  2. A lot of high schools where I’m from (western Massachusetts) do these “internships” for juniors and seniors, where students get to go work for a half-day or so a few times per week. My dad used to run a small grocery store and he had one student do her “internship” with him. My dad tried to make it somewhat educational by having her do different positions, learn about ordering procedures, stuff like that, but he said many employers just use it as an excuse to get around child labor laws.

  3. We have a county tech school where students go for half days to learn a trade. They return to the regular building for two or three hours for core courses like English and math. My students who participate seem to like the program. I like it much better than the “internships” where kids get credit for having a minimum wage job.

  4. Wacky Hermit says:

    I like this internship/apprenticeship idea a lot!

  5. Roy W. Wright says:

    I support just about any proposal that gets young people to work sooner.

  6. Sounds like a great idea to me.

    For once I agree with Rita, in that it’s a huge improvement over “internships” where kids earn credit for being a hostess or waitress somewhere.

  7. Joanne confuses going to college with being ready for college.

    the former can be a road to ruin if there is no motivation, ability or preparation (e.g. going to community college since high school didn’t prepare one to start a 4 year college is a loss, not a success — one can find high schools in the Bay Area who count that as part of the college attendance achievement)

    The latter can be a college student or an apprentice who is ready to be an aware citizen and able to improve/retrain skills — whether in college or on the job.

    If you lose the opportunity to go to college at age 13 because some hurried counselor concludes during the appointed 10 minute session that you as an immigrant will be an apprentice and on the apprentice track, then that is a disaster. And unfortunately, that does happen now in the large tracked high schools (only without the apprentice program)

  8. “If you lose the opportunity to go to college at age 13 because some hurried counselor concludes during the appointed 10 minute session that you as an immigrant will be an apprentice and on the apprentice track, then that is a disaster. And unfortunately, that does happen now in the large tracked high schools (only without the apprentice program)”

    This makes no sense. How can you lose the opportunity to go to college at age 13? Clearly, anyone eligible would have to have the adequate skills for their age level. It would be (gasp) a choice. Someone without the correct skills of a thirteen year old or whatever age would not be eligible. The program could take two days a week (say Friday and Saturday) and the student would have a four day school week. They could do the apprentice program and still go to college.

  9. Also, imo getting a stable, well-paying job is more important than going to college. As a recent college grad, most people in college think of college as just being the prereq for a higher paying job.

  10. Our schools have two tracks: a college-prep track and a vocational track. The students get a diploma either way, but there are different class requirements. They all have to take the same exit exams in algebra, English, and biology. The plan was to add more exams, but I’ll bet that’s been squashed by NCLB.

    A kid who graduates on the vocational track, though, could at the very least attend community college, maybe State U if his grades are good enough. It’s not a life sentence.

  11. More to the point, one’s life is not over if one can’t go to college at the advanced age of 18. I have many friends who got undergraduate degrees from universities when they were older than 30. Come to think of it, my grandmother went to college at the same time as my father. Her grades were much better than my dad’s — I believe she graduated summa cum laude. I don’t think my father even merited a cum laude.

  12. Walter Wallis says:

    Had I stayed an electrician instead of becoming an engineer, I would have retired 10 years ago, on a fine pension.

  13. of course, entry to college is not lost forever. but in the tracked high school, one rapidly falls behind the power curve, so that by uppergraduate years, college is not an option.

    Let me put a face on this: case in point was a young man I stepped in to help mentor in his senior year. He had the motivation and intelligence to go to college.

    Trouble was he was missing entry tests and transcript. The high school never informed him about the SATs since he wasn’t in the college track. (and being in an immigrant family, he didn’t know to ask) While we could shpherd him through that issue, when he did graduate from high school, he lacked the courses to go to into the CSU system — and could not cross that chasm in his senior year. He needed to take courses at a community college in order to qualify for an entrance waiver. not blocked forever: he’s now a junior in the CSU system — but it did zap a year out of his life.
    That is a lost opportunity.

    Rule of thumb is that I’ve heard is that if students enrolled in less than algebra one is your freshman year are blocked from a four year college. and some argue that the hurdle is actually geometry.

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