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Championing Skills at the Business & Education Summit

Friday, 14 Jul 2017

Robyn Clarke, Skills Champion

When you’re asked to speak at event such as the Business & Education Summit, it can seem like a daunting task. Particularly when you’re on a panel with Vince Cable! But as the discussion got going, it became clear to me how my experience over the last few years was so relevant to what we were talking about – productivity.

We were looking at developing the skills of young people to help improve productivity. I felt that for us to do this we really need to promote apprenticeships in schools more to make this is seen as equal as going to university. I didn’t feel when I was at school this was an option that was taken as seriously. But slowly things are changing and I think the best way to do this is using young people on apprenticeships as an example of this success, going into schools and speaking to other young people – which I have been involved in as a Skills Champion. 

The other key thing for me, was learning on the job and doing hands on activities. This has helped me to develop so much quicker than I would’ve done otherwise. I think through my apprenticeship with Toyota and Skills Competitions with WorldSkills UK, I’ve learned outside of a classroom in a way that allows me to meets the challenges I find at work. 

Finally the one thing that struck me at the Summit and hearing from all the passionate speakers, was when the Education Secretary Justine Greening talked about a ’Skills Revolution’. In order to achieve this we will all need to work hard in schools to ensure that students are given unbiased and comprehensive information on the different avenues that they can take them into the many great careers that exist!

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