Bill Sole: NZ needs more apprentices | NZ Herald News
Once again the universities are the big winners in the Budget. Unfortunately, despite international research increasingly pointing to the value of workplace training and apprenticeships, the 2015 Budget…
The idea of success in education is almost entirely based on academic results leading to university entrance, completion of a degree, and then onto a high paying job in an ivory tower south of Mordor.
Okay, maybe that’s slightly Tolkien-ised.
But success can be, and is, so much more than this.
At the age of 26, my brother took over the business he was working for. Both of us were lucky enough to have parents who were able to send us through private schooling. So we had ‘the best’ of education. Both of us went onto further study – myself heading to art school and then Victoria University to become a teacher. But for my brother, the idea of sitting a) through lectures, and b) in an office, were less than appealing. Instead, he decided to get into something he was interested in. Cars was it.
From there, he went through polytech, served an apprenticeship, and now is in his third year as a successful business owner. And he is under 30.
But no university qualification. No long hours of study or endless exams. And he’s not stupid, nor academically inept.
The reason I bring this up is because the current education climate in this country is best summed up in this poem I wrote last term.
Test, test, test.
Assess, assess, assess.
and that is success.
If this is what success is deemed by, then very few will be determined to be successful. Let us not forget that the likes of the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple – the world’s most valuable company (May 2015) – was a college (NZ calls them ‘universities’) drop out – ie. he left before completing any tertiary qualification. Another rather successful college drop out is one Mark Zuckerberg, who is creator and CEO of a website called Facebook.com. You might have seen it? Zuckerberg has a reported personal wealth of some $38.6 billion (US) at the age of 31. He was a billionaire by the age of 23 – 5 years out of high school. He put himself on a $1 salary in 2013.
Both of these cases are extremes. Once in a lifetime examples. But examples none the less. Both of these men are undoubtedly what we would deem as successful, in terms of their influence in the world, as well as their personal wealth and the wealth of the companies they ran/run. But according to our current educational climate, they would both be considered failures.
For me, education is important. But doing what you love to do in life is more important. Getting to the point in education where you can go on and do what you want to do in life is what I would determine to be ‘academic success’. Apprenticeships should not only be supported, but encouraged as a viable means of continuing with educational success, rather than the stigma of what you do if you’re ‘no good at school’, so to speak.