It’s not often that a SME in Construction is invited to lead the discussion to direct change to policy holders, influencers and those who deliver further education, but the Makers Apprenticeship Scheme has been heralded as a beacon positively encouraging ‘Transformative Education.’
The conference held at Birmingham City University provided the opportunity for practitioners, researchers, academics and influencers in the future of education to witness first-hand the power of transformative education and its impact upon the individual, community and social fabric.
Whilst the Government has a drive to provide millions of Apprenticeship schemes the concern from those in education is the quality, structure and dynamics and how it will affect not only those delivering these but more importantly what will it achieve for those actually participating in such schemes.
Dr. Rob Smith, Reader of Education at Birmingham City University has been undertaking recent research and focusing on the ‘Space for Transformative Teaching and Learning’ discovered Makers and moreover Makers Apprentice Dean Hubbard, when exchanging collaborative ideas with Further Education colleagues at Walsall College where Dean attends.
Dr. Vicky Duckwork, Reader in Education and advisor on policy, addressed the conference and set the scene regarding the significance and importance of Further Education to meet the aspiration needs, but in its current form and approach will they be met?
Dean Hubbard and Simon Lamb, Managing Director of Makers were invited as guests of the conference to showcase Dean’s story and then expand on the Apprentice Programme the Company operates and to provide an employers’ perspective of the importance of transformative learning.
“I didn’t know what to expect, one minute I was sitting in the auditorium then my film and story was being played to everyone….at first I was shocked and just stared at myself on the screen, it was all a bit emotional listening back, but at the end of it was asked to stand and was shocked at the reception I received, I was well made up.”
Dean Hubbard, Apprentice, see link for Dean’s story
Dean’s story was the epitome of the journey most people take in Further Education, but what makes Dean’s experience of interest is the transformative change and opportunity it has provided given his limited early education achievements and his foray back into education 20 years later.
Professor Emerita Lyn Tett, University of Edinburgh
The opening film showcased Dean and his journey with Further Education as part of his Makers Apprenticeship. Dean’s early plight and frustrations highlighted the issues of many who return to education after a long absence but with dedicated educators, Dean has transformed from an uninterested, confused and frustrated student, into a dynamic force who bristles with confidence, wants to lead and now understands the power and merits of education.
“I feel really lucky, Makers have been brilliant and have provided me an opportunity to improve myself beyond belief, it’s opened my eyes, and I now have aspirations and goals. I remember my first black tie dinner I attended with the guys and mentors who operate the Apprenticeship from the lecturers of the college, to Sean, John and of course my mentor Kenny and Simon Lamb the MD. I couldn’t believe it when we actually won. I was well made up, first thing I did was ring my mum. It was awesome. We smashed it!”
“Simon is a very unusual employer and his energy and passion has been clear to see in all our breakout sessions; His contribution has been amazing and we need to engage more with people like Simon in order to ensure we can deliver what’s needed for the future.”
Dr. Vicky Duckworth, Reader in Education.
It has been interesting to be able to address those in education and dispel some of the myths. Unfortunately no matter what industry or sector we operate in we become stuck in a bubble over time and our thinking narrows. The breakout sessions provided both side of the argument to be voiced and raise points that otherwise would not have been aired.
Many of the issues raised by the education sector are valid but we should not lose sight of the main aim of further education whilst the high line philosophy of social stability, aspirational goals, confidence and empowerment all have their merits, our underlying duty is to make them fit for work in their chosen subject, hence why it’s called an Apprenticeship.
I believe that both industry and education must at some point converge to provide the best support and knowledge from both sides. I fully agree that Apprenticeships should have common transferable skills that allows migration between sectors as this produces the flexibility and opportunity the economy needs.
So can my business afford to wait for the policy holders and education providers to agree on a way forward?…. I am afraid not. SME’s do not have the luxury of time, hence we took everything we wanted and needed and coupled this with our philosophy of honesty, excellence, satisfaction and innovation, resulting in our own designed Apprenticeship. It provides more that is just a system of learning, it provides a platform to develop as a person, it allows the individual to take responsibility, it empowers them to manage and plan, but more that it provides aspiration.
When I talk to my apprentices, I always tell them “be the best you can be, at whatever level, whatever job, always be the best.”
Apprenticeships aren’t easy but if you believe in them, if you are committed to the process then you should guarantee every apprentice YOU invest in with employment. My worry is for those 16 – 18 year olds that will have their dreams and aspirations dashed when an Apprenticeship scheme fails to deliver, it cannot simply be about numbers but unfortunately this is where our industry seems to want to go. I wish this was not the political football it has become, fought over by the policy makers for quick wins, many without direction and specific goals, and those who provide them with their focus of funding and delivery.
Whilst many big firms and industry bemoan the Brexit result their first though is that of their own personal circumstances and the fear that the labour force won’t be there for them to rely upon. How sad! Not seen as an opportunity to provide home grown skills and talent, just the threat that the cheap labour pool may not be available to them.
“We as a nation continue to over promise and under deliver when it comes to Apprenticeships. There must be a degree of honesty from all sides if we are to delivery not only for our next generation of young people, but also for our nation”.
Simon Lamb, Managing Director, Makers