Vocational education

For young people, being successful is all too often conflated with going to university. This conveyer belt approach to education
The American defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld's spoke during a press conference in 2002 (in)famously about the 'known and
Grammar Schools are once again dominating the British news realm with government plans to take a "pragmatic" look at the construction of new grammar schools. The announcement, luke warm though it was, has been enough to start the familiar debates rolling about Middle Class privilege versus offering opportunities to Working Class children.
Endless reports have referred to an imbalance in funding between higher education and vocational education and the traditional
Politicians from all parties are in agreement on the importance of the UK becoming more socially mobile. People should have the same chances to develop and prosper regardless of the circumstances of their birth.
Apprenticeships are attracting a huge amounts of interest from across the political spectrum. We've come a long way from the days when Tony Blair is said to have joked that political interest in vocational education was such that he could make a declaration of war in a speech about skills and no-one would ever notice.
I imagine for some of you the decision of what happens next will have already been made, university places accepted and bags waiting to be packed. But for others, this decision will not be so clear, and if this is you, it's really important to look at all of the opportunities on offer.
What seemed like the most terrible scenario in the world ended up being the biggest godsend as I was forced to look at alternative options. Within a month I'd had a lucky meeting with someone and managed to secure some work experience. It was this year after school when I realised how IMPORTANT work experience was.
Looking back, what I remember vividly is the dedication and enthusiasm of those who taught me. The practical skills I learnt from this vocational training have stayed with me for life and provided a solid foundation for my career as a garden designer. I have extremely happy, fond memories of this time - much better memories than those in the classroom not really interested in what I was being taught.
For many years vocational education has been stigmatised as only suitable for the 'less bright', and for those that needed to prepare for a specific trade. This is because vocational education directly develops expertise in techniques related to technology, skill and scientific technique to span all aspects of the trade