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 a raising of the Required Participation Age (RPA).
In this added year, students aren't necessarily forced to go to school though. A choice is available whether they wish to remain in full time education, enrol in an apprenticeship, or complete part time education if in employment.
Academic vs vocational options
The statistics for 16-18 year olds 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 only 31% go for vocational education.
O'Keefe believes that, although a lot of young people decide to stay in a school environment, the expanding of the Required Participation Age (RPA) is actually an opportunity for employers to take advantage of a young talent pool.
Apprenticeships and employment
Where in the past, 16 year olds may have chosen to leave education and find a job, giving them the option of taking an apprenticeship may encourage them to take a different route into employment. O'Keefe 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.
Written by Fiona Sanderson
Fiona is Marketing Manager at myhrtoolkit. Her areas of expertise include HR systems, productivity, employment law updates, and creating HR infographics.