Parents urged to drop college fixation and 'snobbery' over apprenticeships
Irish parents need to "get real" and "lose their fixation in insisting that their child has to go to college as a badge of honour" according to the head of the representative body for Education and Training Boards (ETBs).
Michael Moriarty, general secretary of Education and Training Boards Ireland, said policymakers should try to encourage parents to send children directly to industry via a traineeship or apprenticeship programme.
"We've had business education fora and businesses have said to us, 'please don't send us someone with a master's degree who wants to be managing director within two weeks, we cannot get the people with the right skills'" Moriarty told the Sunday Independent.
"We have a mismatch between education and training providers and the business community."
ETBs are statutory bodies with responsibility for education and training, youth work, functions. ETBs manage and operate a third of Ireland's second-level schools, and provide further education and training to over 200,000 adults a year.
Moriarty was speaking after Education Minister Richard Bruton announced plans to try and lift the number of people in apprenticeships or traineeships.
"The great thing about an apprenticeship or a traineeship is that the person is job ready," Moriarty said.
"The difference when somebody comes out of a university is they almost have to be reprogrammed into a working environment, and that's a challenge for a lot of employers. Employers want people at all levels with the correct skills," he said, adding that there was a "snob element" holding back people from taking on apprenticeships.
Bruton said: "Working with employers, we will strengthen apprenticeship and traineeship in Ireland, increasing the range of courses and increasing the number of student places to achieve the Government targets.
"Apprenticeship and traineeship is a very exciting option for many young people. Industrial leaders in many sectors place a very high value on a trained apprentice or trainee, with many moving into managerial positions.
"It is my ambition to develop apprenticeships and traineeships as high quality and attractive options for school leavers, other learners and crucially for the parents of Ireland who have such an influence into career choice."
Moriarty said education providers should teach students generic skills like critical thinking in order to equip them for the jobs of the future. "Society has an expectation that young people embrace change and those of us charged with their education must step up to the mark.
"Digital skills are increasingly a core requirement for work in sectors such as healthcare, architecture, engineering, accounting and its no longer about filling existing jobs but catering for new jobs that a single digital market [planned for the EU] will create," he added.
Sunday Indo Business