This is not the post I had planned on doing today but yesterday I was watching the BBC Breakfast show and they had a segment about the World Skills Competition. I had never heard of such a thing and I found it fascinating!
Basically it’s like the Olympics for tradespeople/skilled people such as bricklayers, gardeners, robotic engineers, bakers etc. Around 1200 young people compete to win Gold, Silver & Bronze in their category and become famous for their trade/skills.
The BBC were discussing if the UK supported vocational training as good as other countries. For example in Korea, the winners were treated like celebrities. They were rewarded with all sorts of stuff like cash and money. What did the UK finalists get? A letter from David Cameron – woop woop! If they were Olympians then they’d have their faces on stamps and have contracts with Santander (these are just examples)!* I mean I couldn’t even name any of the UK Skills Champions.
* please don’t think I’m belittling the achievement of Olympians or any other sports star.
Now this is just my opinion and things might be better these days but certainly when I was at school, vocational training was not promoted. According to them, university was the only way to go!
I clearly remember my A Level results day. I got good enough grades – 2 A and 2 C (which was bloody great considering I did zero work for the last year). My French teacher was congratulating me and asking which university I was going to. I told her I wasn’t going to Uni and I’d had been offered a job. She go so stroppy saying I was wasting my knowledge and education.
Almost 13 years on I am still working at that same firm having done all my qualifications with them. They paid for my AAT, ICAEW and CIOT courses so by now I have 3 sets of initials after my name. I don’t have student debt because I didn’t go to university. I have 13 years worth of experience and absolutely love my job. Also it’s a pretty decent wage so I can’t complain. (Oh yeah and also I met my husband because of the vocational training….)
As you can imagine, I am all for vocational training. It is such a fab way to do what you want to do and to gain experience. I’m not poo-pooing Uni, I’m just saying that it isn’t for everyone – and that’s ok! So no, it’s not uni or bust!!
And to all those people who thought I was never going to make it without university, who’s laughing now?
(I really have to thank my bosses who took the chance on me all those years ago and to a neighbour who advised me not to bother with uni and go straight to work – best piece of advice ever!)