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We need more apprentices and fewer graduates, says Worcestershire councillor
TOO many young people think university is "the only route to success" and end up with an "over-inflated view of their worth" after graduating, according to a Worcestershire politician.
Councillor Ken Pollock said the idea "every other person should go to university is foolish", and blames society for creating disillusioned "unemployed graduates" employers do not need.
The Conservative, who recently led a major review into apprenticeships, also says he is worried many students end up with "huge debt and a feeling the world owes them a living".
Cllr Pollock, who represents Tenbury, was tasked with coming up with pointers as to how Worcestershire County Council can help make apprenticeships more attractive to students.
As your Worcester News revealed on Saturday, all of his recommendations have been taken on board by the leadership.
Cllr Pollock, speaking during a cabinet meeting, said a serious culture change is needed if things are to change significantly.
"Schools reflect society and society is oriented towards academic success," he said.
"University is not the only route to success and making a valuable contribution to society.
"The idea that every other person should go to university is foolish, misleading and brings about disillusionment to unemployed graduates, with an over-inflated view of their worth.
"They can find themselves saddled with a huge debt and a feeling that the world owes them a living, working in their chosen field, without reference to the needs of society - no wonder they feel resentment.
"Society is not organised to need every other person to have a degree.
"If they want to get one, fine, but they have to recognise they may end up working in something wholly unrelated to their subject, and maybe at a more lowly level of responsibility and reward than they had anticipated."
He said the council, schools in Worcestershire and society in general all have a responsibility to "accept" many non-academic jobs are "worthy of respect".
"Just as an example our society could exist without brain surgeons," he said.
"With no brain surgeons a few people would die prematurely - by contrast society could not exist without lorry drivers.
"Does society honour such jobs and a thousand others that might be reached through an apprenticeship? Not adequately.
"Apprenticeships are just such a route to success and valuable jobs, and they should be regarded as such by society in general."
His full report has been endorsed by the council, and as a result all schools in Worcestershire have been contacted in a bid to improve careers advice so apprenticeships get similar billing to university.
* What do you think of Cllr Pollock's comments? Email email@example.com or call 01905 742248.
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