Higher level apprenticeships an alternative to degrees?

Patslatt1

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Traditionally, most good quality apprenticeships in Ireland were in construction, mechanical engineering operations in factories, and car and truck repairs. In the UK,since enrollment in apprenticeships is so extremely low that major shortages of skilled workers are predicted, to encourage apprenticeships the government has funded a higher level apprenticeship programme funded with a tax on employers. Maybe Ireland should consider copying the successful aspects of the programme.

The programme for Northern Ireland is described here https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/higher-level-apprenticeships

A higher level apprentice has to have A level GCEs or equivalent and work 21 hours a week including training off the job (but excluding academic training in college and university presumably?).

Since the apprenticeships in most of the 20 occupations listed lead to degree programmes, they are not traditional trades. I fail to see an advantage to employers in apprentice training for high level professionals in civil,mechanical and electrical engineering except in highly specialised engineering businesses such as mechanical engineering companies in Germany. Most employers would prefer to hire the four year university graduates who have a strong grounding in advanced maths and engineering theory. However, gas safety management for natural gas utilities and certain industrial life sciences would meet the highly specialised criterion.

Accountancy is listed in apprenticeships, an example of back to the future. A generation ago, a five year apprenticeship was required for chartered accountants without degrees. Those with a B.Com degree did a three year apprenticeship with the advantage that the degree prepared them well for the rigorous Chartered accountancy exams which always had high failure rates.

Nursing is another back to the future example. There is an advantage in apprenticeships in learning simple but critically important tasks like how to feed patients who have difficulty eating.Many nurses with EU recognised four year degrees who are "too posh to wash" would be better off with less academic theory and more apprenticeship practice.

The business apprenticeships available in business services, hospitality and tourism, sales and digital marketing could at least allow apprentices to earn money instead of wasting time in unnecessarily prolonged superficial business degrees. At undergraduate level, only the B.Com is an academically rigorous degree. The remaining degrees may have some useful courses in computer literacy and spreadsheets (and the three years spent doing them should improve social skills like the Swiss finishing schools for girls a generation ago!).

Software engineering apprenticeships may suit highly creative youngsters who might lose their creative spark toiling their way through programmng languages they won't use in employment. By comparison, in the industrial design field, UK graduates whose courses graduate quickly are considered to be a lot more creative than the Germans who have many more years of study.
 
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Maximus Cynicus

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Think this is a great idea. I have always been a great believer in the Apprenticeship system, whatever the trade or profession. My father did his apprenticeship (electrician) and rose to a decent level of proficiency/management. I did my own “apprenticeship” in the insurance industry after leaving school although it wasn’t labelled as such.

However, nowadays many young people require instant gratification. Take for example the music business. Long gone are the days of filling up the van with equipment, speakers, etc and travelling miles gigging. Doing your apprentcieship. The Beatles did this, Queen, Genesis, Led Zeppelin and all other great musicians. Not today, sh1t no! I’m gonna go on a glorified Karaoke competition on the TV and get instant fame and adulation. Proof of the pudding is to how many of these jokers are still household names after appearing in the X-Factor.

We have an abundance of degrees which are “non-terminal” in nature - they do not even remotely qualify anyone to do anything at the end of 3-4 years. Therefore, nobody with these degrees can hit the “job market” ground running - further study or relevant work experience is required. Someone does a degree in business and wants to do accountancy, in public practice. The degree will afford certain exemptions but, as stated previously, the professional exams will have to be tackled. An employer may impose a time constraint on this. If you don’t get the exams, sayonara.

Personally, I have enjoyed interacting with the NCO strata of companies, those people like myself who came up through the ranks and learned the trade bit by bit over time. I have less of an affinity for the “Officer” class who might have been parachuted in because of their family connections or some other pull.
 

Analyzer

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Good idea.

And also, I think it would be a good idea to decrease the numbers of places in day time humanities course by 80%, and increasing Arts degree places in evening study. So that the students can pick up something vocationally useful, whilst learning material that can be learned in one's spare time.

Perhaps even close down Arts in Maynooth or Belfield and have evening study in TCD ramped up, for people who are finished work.

Currently, young people are sold a promise that is lie. We have far too many arts graduates, who spend three years learning stuff that is of no practical use. They would be better off working in McDonalds or Burgerking. They end up with a script of paper, that is of no benefit to them, and only impedes their ability to look at the world with humility.
 

papaquebec

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My personal rise to obscurity was possibly caused by serving an apprenticeship after leaving university.
 

im axeled

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i always reconed that closing the tech schools was a mistake, which is being rectified somewhat these days via the secondary curriculum, i have some grand kids going trade classes at the mo
 

Analyzer

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i always reconed that closing the tech schools was a mistake, which is being rectified somewhat these days via the secondary curriculum, i have some grand kids going trade classes at the mo
Here is a discussion point - is university education in Ireland the most efficient and effective way for students to become employable ? I am not talking about the taxpayer perspective. I am talking about the needs of young people.

In the 1980s, if a young person wanted to learn about philosophy, a university was about as effective an option as existed. Nowadays there are online book retailers, there is Kindle/Nook/etc., and there are internet sites. and there is a far more established option set in distance education. In fact, a lot is possible.

In effect a young person can learn a technical skill - and can learn philosophy in their own time. After three years learning about technical training, the young person has an income and independence. And can now learn other things like dead languages, or whatever, as they wish.

The point I am making is technology has changed learning. And it is now possible to make learning more useful for young people. It can enable them to earn wages earlier. And this is better for them.

In essence third level is running many courses that are wasting the time of the students. And because we are talking about the departments with the largest intake - primarily in the humanities, there is extremely strong institutional resistance to any evaluation.

We have a third level education sector that is very slick at selling it's usefulness - but the experience of large quantities of students indicates that it's usefulness is not that great. In the US now there is a lot of discussion about this, due to student debt. In IRL there is no discussion, just media endorsement of a failing policy.

A policy that is failing students.

I think we should rethink it from scratch, and redesign it with the young people first. That would mean a complete oberhaul, indeed. But it is needed. Institutional needs should be up for negotiation, because they are destroying many young people, who are too naive to see what is going on, and who find out in their mid 20s that they were pumped with an empty promise.
 
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Morgellons

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Here is a discussion point - is university education in Ireland the most efficient and effective way for students to become employable ? I am not talking about the taxpayer perspective. I am talking about the needs of young people.

In the 1980s, if a young person wanted to learn about philosophy, a university was about as effective an option as existed. Nowadays there are online book retailers, there is Kindle/Nook/etc., and there are internet sites. and there is a far more established option set in distance education.

In effect a young person can learn a technical skill - and can learn philosophy in their own time. after three years learning about technical training, the young person has an income and independence. And can no learn other things like dead languages, or whatever, as they wish.

The point I am making is technology has changed learning. And it is now possible to make learning more useful for young people. It can enable them to earn wages earlier. And this is better for them.

In essence third level is running many courses that are wasting the time of the students. And because we are talking about the departments with the largest intake - primarily in the humanities, there is extremely strong institutional resistance to any evaluation.

We have a third level education sector that is very slick at selling it's usefulness - but the experience of large quantities of students indicates that it's usefulness is not that great. In the US now there is a lot of discussion about this, due to student debt. In IRL there is no discussion, just media endorsement of a failing policy.

A policy that is failing students.
I'm going to reveal a little about myself here, but I feel it's important to the topic being discussed.

I did a science degree as a mature student after returning from a time abroad in my 20s.

Naively I thought this was a rock solid investment in my future-University was always made out to be the way to get ahead-and I chose science because I really wanted a qualification that would get me a good job.

It wasn't an easy degree, lots of maths, physics, etc, but I slogged through it, and ended up with an unspectacular, but still repectable 2:1 degree.

Looking back now, I can say it was the biggest waste of time ever. Ok, going to college is fun enough, lots of socities, meeting new people etc, but the qualification itself has been of no use to me whatsoever. I now work in an area completely removed from science, in fact apart from a stint in a laboratory on a Jobsbridge scheme, I got nothing out of the degree.

Lots of tedious learning things off by heart to pass the exams, only to forget them 10 minutes after the exams were over and no practical skills learned whatsoever. The whole degree could have been taught over the internet and the taxpayer could have been spared the 4x6,000=24,000 euros. More importantly, I could have done a trade in that time, learned something useful that could have helped me become a happy, self-reliant citizen.

My whole university experience remains the biggest regret of my life, and the timing, particularly as a mature student-I was earnest and willing-was doubly cruel.

Degrees prepare you for nothing except having a slightly more alluring ass you can try to sell to employers. I make an exception for medicine, but even that can be taught online now. I compare this enviously with the Ausbildung system in Germany-I spend a fair bit of time there-, where after three years you are qualified, and above all, competant in your chosen field. I have presented my degree at interviews in Germany and they asked me what exactly can I do-all I could tell them was that I was good at passing exams.

I don't want to give in to resentment, or envy, or any other negative emotion-some of the responsibility of course was mine-but I feel I was sold a pig in a poke with the whole degree thing, and the only people to gain were the staff and college who collected the fees.
 

Patslatt1

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Good idea.

And also, I think it would be a good idea to decrease the numbers of places in day time humanities course by 80%, and increasing Arts degree places in evening study. So that the students can pick up something vocationally useful, whilst learning material that can be learned in one's spare time.

Perhaps even close down Arts in Maynooth or Belfield and have evening study in TCD ramped up, for people who are finished work.

Currently, young people are sold a promise that is lie. We have far too many arts graduates, who spend three years learning stuff that is of no practical use. They would be better off working in McDonalds or Burgerking. They end up with a script of paper, that is of no benefit to them, and only impedes their ability to look at the world with humility.
Many young people haven't a clue what career to pursue. A few years in an Arts degree can help them improve communications and writing skills and critical thinking, qualities useful in any job. Two relatives who studied European languages and political theory prepared for businees careers with one year postgraduate degrees in marketing. One was employed by a multinational recruiting and employment research company to market the company's services and the other has spent about seven years selling software to the UK for US multinationals in Dublin.

Practicality aside, many like to pursue university liberal education for its own sake.
 

Patslatt1

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Here is a discussion point - is university education in Ireland the most efficient and effective way for students to become employable ? I am not talking about the taxpayer perspective. I am talking about the needs of young people.

In the 1980s, if a young person wanted to learn about philosophy, a university was about as effective an option as existed. Nowadays there are online book retailers, there is Kindle/Nook/etc., and there are internet sites. and there is a far more established option set in distance education. In fact, a lot is possible.

In effect a young person can learn a technical skill - and can learn philosophy in their own time. After three years learning about technical training, the young person has an income and independence. And can now learn other things like dead languages, or whatever, as they wish.

The point I am making is technology has changed learning. And it is now possible to make learning more useful for young people. It can enable them to earn wages earlier. And this is better for them.

In essence third level is running many courses that are wasting the time of the students. And because we are talking about the departments with the largest intake - primarily in the humanities, there is extremely strong institutional resistance to any evaluation.

We have a third level education sector that is very slick at selling it's usefulness - but the experience of large quantities of students indicates that it's usefulness is not that great. In the US now there is a lot of discussion about this, due to student debt. In IRL there is no discussion, just media endorsement of a failing policy.

A policy that is failing students.

I think we should rethink it from scratch, and redesign it with the young people first. That would mean a complete oberhaul, indeed. But it is needed. Institutional needs should be up for negotiation, because they are destroying many young people, who are too naive to see what is going on, and who find out in their mid 20s that they were pumped with an empty promise.
DEGREES PAY IN THE US BUT NOT IN THE UK

In the US which has a vast university market, the respected four year degree still commands substantial premium pay over high school diplomas. This may reflect the social capital advantages of high income families over the rest, not just academic achievement. Even arts graduates earn high salaries but many years later than technical graduates. US university enrollment rates are lower than in advanced European countries due to high fees.

By contrast, UK graduates are generally no better off than secondary school graduates. This may reflect the relatively high standards of A levels which can be sufficient preparation for busines careers, the cost of funding university and the absence of pay while attending university.
 

Patslatt1

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i always reconed that closing the tech schools was a mistake, which is being rectified somewhat these days via the secondary curriculum, i have some grand kids going trade classes at the mo
TECHS

Foreign governments were impressed with the quality of Irish tech school trades people. There is a danger that the techs' focus on practial skills is being lost in the more academic approach of Institutes of Technology.
 

Patslatt1

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Here is a discussion point - is university education in Ireland the most efficient and effective way for students to become employable ? I am not talking about the taxpayer perspective. I am talking about the needs of young people.

In the 1980s, if a young person wanted to learn about philosophy, a university was about as effective an option as existed. Nowadays there are online book retailers, there is Kindle/Nook/etc., and there are internet sites. and there is a far more established option set in distance education. In fact, a lot is possible.

In effect a young person can learn a technical skill - and can learn philosophy in their own time. After three years learning about technical training, the young person has an income and independence. And can now learn other things like dead languages, or whatever, as they wish.

The point I am making is technology has changed learning. And it is now possible to make learning more useful for young people. It can enable them to earn wages earlier. And this is better for them.

In essence third level is running many courses that are wasting the time of the students. And because we are talking about the departments with the largest intake - primarily in the humanities, there is extremely strong institutional resistance to any evaluation.

We have a third level education sector that is very slick at selling it's usefulness - but the experience of large quantities of students indicates that it's usefulness is not that great. In the US now there is a lot of discussion about this, due to student debt. In IRL there is no discussion, just media endorsement of a failing policy.

A policy that is failing students.

I think we should rethink it from scratch, and redesign it with the young people first. That would mean a complete oberhaul, indeed. But it is needed. Institutional needs should be up for negotiation, because they are destroying many young people, who are too naive to see what is going on, and who find out in their mid 20s that they were pumped with an empty promise.
SOCIAL MEDIA UNIVERSITY

Online only education has a proven efficiency and cost effectiveness but misses out on the important social aspect of university. Students are social animals like the rest of the human race and need social contact to benefit fully in their studies. Some graduates say they learned more from discussing ides in the pub than attending lectures.

Maybe social media could bring online only students together for socail meetings and to attend lectures broadcast or rebroadcast in their local venues in lecture halls, libraries, hotels etc
 

Patslatt1

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I'm going to reveal a little about myself here, but I feel it's important to the topic being discussed.

I did a science degree as a mature student after returning from a time abroad in my 20s.

Naively I thought this was a rock solid investment in my future-University was always made out to be the way to get ahead-and I chose science because I really wanted a qualification that would get me a good job.

It wasn't an easy degree, lots of maths, physics, etc, but I slogged through it, and ended up with an unspectacular, but still repectable 2:1 degree.

Looking back now, I can say it was the biggest waste of time ever. Ok, going to college is fun enough, lots of socities, meeting new people etc, but the qualification itself has been of no use to me whatsoever. I now work in an area completely removed from science, in fact apart from a stint in a laboratory on a Jobsbridge scheme, I got nothing out of the degree.

Lots of tedious learning things off by heart to pass the exams, only to forget them 10 minutes after the exams were over and no practical skills learned whatsoever. The whole degree could have been taught over the internet and the taxpayer could have been spared the 4x6,000=24,000 euros. More importantly, I could have done a trade in that time, learned something useful that could have helped me become a happy, self-reliant citizen.

My whole university experience remains the biggest regret of my life, and the timing, particularly as a mature student-I was earnest and willing-was doubly cruel.

Degrees prepare you for nothing except having a slightly more alluring ass you can try to sell to employers. I make an exception for medicine, but even that can be taught online now. I compare this enviously with the Ausbildung system in Germany-I spend a fair bit of time there-, where after three years you are qualified, and above all, competant in your chosen field. I have presented my degree at interviews in Germany and they asked me what exactly can I do-all I could tell them was that I was good at passing exams.

I don't want to give in to resentment, or envy, or any other negative emotion-some of the responsibility of course was mine-but I feel I was sold a pig in a poke with the whole degree thing, and the only people to gain were the staff and college who collected the fees.
Properly structured, degrees in humanities, social sciences and sciences provide a well rounded educational experience. That makes graduates more adaptable in their capacity to learn new things and new tasks. It is often said that in the future,workers will have to change careers several times. Even staying in the same job, many will have to learn new skills as the ongoing industrial revolution continues capitalism's bouts of creative destruction, with new industries displacing the old ones. The well educated graduate should find it easy to adapt to the new job opportunities.

In regard to generally excellent German training and apprenticeships, I have the impression they prolong apprenticeships unnecessarily in many fields. That may have proved to be a barrier to your entry into good jobs. Maybe you should try your luck in the UK or Ireland where employers are very flexible about recruiting.
 

papaquebec

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You are now in the twilight of a mediocre career!
You'd wonder how "career" gained it's current meaning when one definition is "to plunge or hurtle downward under little or no control"...

...Then I look at some of my contemporaries and the scales are lifted!
 

Morgellons

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Properly structured, degrees in humanities, social sciences and sciences provide a well rounded educational experience. That makes graduates more adaptable in their capacity to learn new things and new tasks. It is often said that in the future,workers will have to change careers several times. Even staying in the same job, many will have to learn new skills as the ongoing industrial revolution continues capitalism's bouts of creative destruction, with new industries displacing the old ones. The well educated graduate should find it easy to adapt to the new job opportunities.

In regard to generally excellent German training and apprenticeships, I have the impression they prolong apprenticeships unnecessarily in many fields. That may have proved to be a barrier to your entry into good jobs. Maybe you should try your luck in the UK or Ireland where employers are very flexible about recruiting.
I don't know, Pat. That's all very vague "capacity to learn new things"etc. I'd rather have a skillset in the bag I can sell wherever in the world I'd like to go, not to be part of some big multi-national machinery.

Are you involved in third level education, by any chance?
 

Patslatt1

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I don't know, Pat. That's all very vague "capacity to learn new things"etc. I'd rather have a skillset in the bag I can sell wherever in the world I'd like to go, not to be part of some big multi-national machinery.

Are you involved in third level education, by any chance?
A high quality university education in liberal arts or sciences enables people to learn new professional skills a lot more quickly than a secondary school qualification or a vocational business studies degree. At the undergraduate level, It is difficult to make the latter intellectually challenging except in subjects like operations research and marketing research which interest only a small minority of students.

I'm not involved in education but I have blogged many times on the subject on p.ie.
 

wombat

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Many of the big UK companies had a structured training scheme for engineering gradua tes. It was basically a 2 year apprenticeship to build on the degree. I'm not sure if any still exist. The U.S. approach was more sink or swim, very dependent on who your boss was. Intel appears to have a brainwashing scheme but I'm not aware of any formal schemes in Ireland.
 

Patslatt1

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Many of the big UK companies had a structured training scheme for engineering gradua tes. It was basically a 2 year apprenticeship to build on the degree. I'm not sure if any still exist. The U.S. approach was more sink or swim, very dependent on who your boss was. Intel appears to have a brainwashing scheme but I'm not aware of any formal schemes in Ireland.
I've read that many US engineers are very narrowly educated to meet job specifications of local or regional employers in a specific industry. Their jobs can easily become redundant if the industry changes technology or declines. One example was engineering design for aircraft seats.
 

reg11

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A high quality university education in liberal arts or sciences enables people to learn new professional skills a lot more quickly than a secondary school qualification or a vocational business studies degree. At the undergraduate level, It is difficult to make the latter intellectually challenging except in subjects like operations research and marketing research which interest only a small minority of students.

I'm not involved in education but I have blogged many times on the subject on p.ie.
I don't know about the logic of that. Surely, intellectual ability is rooted/innate for the most part. Having a degree or not having one isn't going to change it. Of course, having a degree should indicate a certain level of intelligence at a minimum.
 

Patslatt1

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I don't know about the logic of that. Surely, intellectual ability is rooted/innate for the most part. Having a degree or not having one isn't going to change it. Of course, having a degree should indicate a certain level of intelligence at a minimum.
Education develop innates intellectual abilities.
 


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