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The Apprentice Boys of Kent

Carter Cllr Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, here gives a report on what his Council is doing for the young, with an emphasis on backing apprenticeships.

Kent County Council has been working over the last 10 years on the transformation of secondary education, delivering diversity and choice appropriate to the ambition, aspiration and ability of our young people.

10 years ago the learning experience for young people across the country in secondary schools was generally uninspiring and failing to educate young people for a fast changing technological world.

In Kent we have been on a journey of secondary school transformation - giving broad curriculum choice, embracing technology through teacher support and the personal learning agenda, with a major goal to enable all young people to reach their full potential with only part of the journey being academic attainment.

As the government works on transforming education for 14 to 19 year olds, Kent County Council has gone one stage further with the creation of the 14-24 Innovation Unit to respond to the rapidly changing education and skills legislation and welfare reforms.

The unit has responsibility for professional skills and training, Educational Business Partnerships, careers guidance and vocational programmes to ensure that our young people reach their full potential
and become the workforce of tomorrow bringing economic success to Kent.

Extending the age range to 24 supports the county's young people through crucial times of transition, leaving school, college or university, and provide extra help in careers and employment opportunities supporting the Kent economy and reducing welfare dependency.

Kent wants every young person engaged and motivated about learning and able to follow a pathway that meets their individual needs and interests, giving them the basic skills and more to prepare them for
employment or higher education. The activity of the unit will also help to address the needs of the labour market and economic regeneration.

Preparing young people for the "world of work" is such an important priority for Kent that six of our 2010 targets (the ambitious goals set for the county) have been developed to ensure young people have the
right skills to access jobs and opportunities. They are:

  • Raise the expectations and aspirations of our young people by giving all 13-19 year-olds the very best careers guidance and by providing master classes presented by businessmen, entrepreneurs and professionals.
  • Expand our pioneering vocational 14-16 programme to more than 4,000 students, offering real choice in a diverse and stimulating curriculum tailored to the needs of students and relevant to the real world.
  • Double the number of participants on Skill Force-type programmes.
  • Introduce a Kent Apprenticeship scheme, offering at least 1,000 apprenticeship opportunities across the private and public sectors.
  • Introduce the Kent Community Programme, building teams of apprentices to participate in community projects.
  • Build strong business-education partnerships that benefit both employers and schools.


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