Staff at Milton Keynes College are bracing themselves for a deluge of applications to take up apprenticeships in subjects as diverse as engineering, hairdressing, customer service and video marketing.
The popularity of apprenticeships in recent years has seen record numbers of applications across the country and research carried out by polling organisation, ICM, suggests that more than half - 54 per cent in fact - of young people would like to start one if they could.
The figures also indicate that 56 per cent of university students would like to take this kind of work-based qualification while a staggering 66 per cent of young people already in work but receiving no training would like to be apprentices too.
Milton Keynes College Principal, Dr Julie Mills, says, “Every year we’re finding that more people are realising that there are many routes they can take to the career of their choice and that university is not the answer to every question.
“Where once an apprenticeship was seen as a ‘second choice’ greater and greater numbers are now opting for it as the best way to get where they want to be.”
The reaction from employers is also extremely positive with business owners rating apprentices 15% more employable than young people with other qualifications.
Nineteen year old Joe Norton is a College student with an apprenticeship at Milton Keynes Council and says he would highly recommend it as a career move. He said: “The best thing about being an apprentice is the fact you are learning and earning.
“Being an apprentice gives you the opportunity to learn and gain experience in a job you want to do and enjoy.”
The success of the apprenticeship model has also helped shape attitudes to other forms of learning at Further Education Colleges like Milton Keynes.
There is a perception common to many businesses that FE students are considerably more “work-ready” than their university graduate counterparts.
Dr Mills believes this makes the College a place far better suited for many looking to study in Higher Education as well.
She said: “Education isn’t just about the subjects you learn and are taught, but about preparing you for the jobs market.
“Employability skills are at the heart of even the most academic subjects we offer.”
This year the College is offering a wide range of vocational qualifications at Higher Education level (Higher National Diplomas and Certificates and Foundation Degrees) in subjects as diverse as Forensic Science, Journalism, Graphic Design, Mechanical Engineering and Performing Arts.
Dr Mills said: “There’s such a range of subjects available that young people can become dazzled and confused by their options and at this stage of their education it’s vital that they receive properly informed advice, which is why we set so much store by our government accredited Information, Advice and Guidance team.
“They will even tell young people about options at places other than this College because the most important thing is that they can make properly informed choices.”
Those with questions to ask about their futures are invited to come to one of three Advisory Days at the College’s Chaffron Way Campus on August 21, 22 and 26.