27 September 2018

Einstein quote - Lawrence Jones MBEWhat do fish, trees and apprenticeships have in common?

It’s simple! Einstein! In one of his most famous quotes, Albert Einstein said: “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Everyone has the potential to be successful, but are we judging people on their own abilities?
All too often, we’re seeing young people being measured by a very specific set of standards in the traditional education system. They leave school or college feeling that they are inadequate, or even stupid, because they don’t achieve great exam results.

Here’s the real issue: schools, colleges and universities are not measuring young people on skills across the board. Exams and course work measure a small part of a person’s ability, not taking into account their full potential. This is dangerous for two reasons; exam periods come at a challenging time for young people, when they’re beginning to shape the adults that they will become.

To place so much pressure on them, and be so brutal as to judge them on a pass or fail level is damaging the potential of so many of our young people. How can you enter the world of work filled with confidence if you’ve been told throughout your most formative years that you’re not good enough?

Exam results don’t mean as much in the real, working world

We’re still putting too much value on exams and putting university on a pedestal. For me, this is where apprenticeships come in. Apprenticeships are an opportunity for young people to thrive in an environment outside of the traditional classroom, to learn on the job. A chance to be measured by the plethora of skills and passions these young people bring to the real world.

Yet, there is still a stigma attached to beginning an apprenticeship rather than continuing on to university. Why is that? Apprenticeships are more than a valid alternative to university. And they’re able to earn while they learn.

Our apprentices are miles ahead of graduates in the same field, simply because they have learned on the job. They know the softer skills of the working world and their education is up to date because it’s constantly evolving in the workplace.

I’m proud to be welcoming a new cohort of apprentices to UKFast this month. They’re at the start of an extraordinary journey. In a matter of months, they’ll be thriving as fully contributing members of the UKFast team.

What do you think? Is education fair to young people who aren’t academically minded? Share your thoughts on apprenticeships in the comments below.

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