The 2013/2014 school year will be the first year that pupils must stay in education until the age of 17 as opposed to 16. In this added year, students aren’t necessarily forced to go to school though. A choice is available whether that is remaining in full time education, enrolling in an apprenticeship or taking part time education if in employment.
Academic Vs. Vocational
The statistics for 16-18 year old choosing to undertake academic study are, as Verity O’Keefe points out, much higher in the UK than many other countries. 69% choose the academic route while 31% go for vocational education. Verity believes that although a lot of young people decide to stay in a school environment, the expanding of the Required Participation Age (RPA) is an opportunity for employers to take advantage of a young talent pool. Where in the past 16 year olds may choose to leave and find a job, given the option of taking an apprenticeship may encourage them to take a different route into employment. Verity also suggests that manufacturers are keen to take young people on through vocational training:
“Two-thirds of manufacturers we surveyed said they currently offer apprenticeships and three-quarters specifically target the 16 to 18 cohort”.
Take a look at the article; there are some interesting points and ideas about how the RPA increase is a good thing for employers in industry.