A session at Place West London last week, co-ordinated by Andrew Ward of Brunel University, focussed on the role of education in driving economic development.
The session looked at education from an economic and business perspective. A wide range of speakers examined how schools work as economic drivers, the role of business in running and supporting schools, examined why are there still skills shortages in a recession, looked at West London’s present and future skills needs, new approaches like UTCs, and the role of the education sector in avoiding riots like those in 2011.
This was, for one of the Chart Lane team, one of the most interesting topics at this year’s Place West London. She writes her thoughts below.
I am one of those people who chose the route of ‘earning and learning’ instead of going to university. I live, went to school and attended college in Sussex. When I explained to my tutors at college that I didn’t want to go to university, I was given very little guidance towards any other career paths.
The statistics of how many students go to university and their grades seemed more important than my choice to go to work. Despite this, I went on to register with a recruitment and training company on my last day of college.
I’m very lucky; I have the support of my parents and the initiative to find things for myself. But that’s not always the case! Teachers and tutors need to be taught to provide information for those who don’t want to attend university. Since the rise in tuition fees, apprenticeships are going to become much more popular and everyone needs to be prepared for the questions that come with change!
After talking to some employers at Place West London, it is clear there is a market for and a need for a “mixed economy” of qualifications in the workforce of the future; degrees, NVQ’s, apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications.