Apprentices put off by schools

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Schools have come under fire from former pupils who say they do too little to promote apprenticeships in engineering as a career.

Apprentices from Newburgh Engineering, Firth Rixson, AESSEAL and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre gave evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee visiting the region as part of an investigation into apprenticeships.

Some praised the opportunities they had to learn about engineering at first hand through work experience.

Others revealed how their schools had discouraged bright pupils who wanted to become apprentices.

Among them was Firth Rixson apprentice Luke Shaw, who turned down offers from three universities because he felt he might spend years at university and emerge without a job or work experience.

He told the Select Committee: “Engineering as a career still isn’t pushed. It’s still seen as second rate, but that’s not the case.”

Luke added that he hadn’t been invited to a post exam celebration at his school because he wasn’t one of the pupils to go to university.

Asked by Select Committee member Brian Binley MP to “name and shame” the school, he said that he had attended Penistone Grammar.

Select Committee chairman Adrian Bailey praised apprentices Kyle Johnson, Chloe Jones, Lewis Nicholson, Chris Parkin and Luke Shaw who had all given evidence.

“If they are our future, we are in safe hands,” he said.