Britons must put aside any lingering embarrassment about becoming an apprentice – says Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL.

The head of specialist awarding organisation EAL believes that prejudice is still hindering the flow of young talented students taking a vocational path from education to industry.

“The UK shouldn’t be embarrassed about its apprentices,” said Ann.

“Other nations celebrate their apprentices far more than we do in Britain. They are treated like rock stars in Korea and Germany for instance.

“But in Britain there are still too many schools and parents that are far too reticent to help their young charges explore the vocational route – they are almost squeamish about it.

“It stems from the long-held belief that university is the only way to go to get a decent education.

“Apprentices are the achievers of this generation – they earn and learn – then embark on world-class careers. We need to cherish and nurture them if Britain is to recover from the economic downturn – and maximise opportunity.”

Her comments came as the 42nd WorldSkills Finals opened in Leipzig, Germany, with more than 1,000 young apprentices from 54 nations beginning five intensive days of competition.

The President of WorldSkills International, Simon Bartley said:

“WorldSkills is a movement which celebrates young people in their chosen skills. The competitors are already champions in their countries

“They are the future for their nations – and our World.”

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