One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is that I have the pleasure of visiting so many of our wonderful schools across Maidstone and the Weald.
In recent weeks I have visited Barming Primary, to celebrate their ‘Good’ OFTSED rating, Brunswick House Primary, for a Q and A, and Maidstone Grammar, to celebrate their achievements at Speech Day. This week, I have also hosted a prize-winning group from the High Weald Academy in Parliament. Each school has a different culture and atmosphere, but all have impressed me with the confidence and thoughtfulness of the students and the dedication of their committed teachers.
During my conversations with school students recently it has become clear that more and more young people are talking about alternative routes into their prospective careers. When I started visiting our schools ten years ago, most students spoke of either aiming to go straight into work, or to university. Both are viable, traditional and worthwhile options. Importantly, however, they are not for everyone. It is therefore very pleasing that more young people are now aware of the alternatives available to them, such as apprenticeships or starting their own business.
Apprenticeships are a fast-growing option which can provide life-changing career opportunities. They are a fantastic route into work because they allow apprentices to earn whilst they learn and often provide long term employment with their company at the conclusion. Furthermore, the growth of entrepreneurial spirit amongst students is vital in creating future jobs for others. In Parliament recently I launched ‘Workfinder’ - a new app which promotes entrepreneurship by providing young people with work experience in ‘start up’ firms, helping them on their way to a business career. More here: https://www.workfinder.com/.
My visits to schools across our community demonstrate how talented our young people are, but each person is different, and we must therefore provide the diversity of education required to help them all achieve their potential.