Britain can benefit from Kent's lead on apprenticeships, says Duke of York
exclusive by business editor Trevor
There are lessons for the rest of the country from Kent's
help young people into work, the Duke of York has told
In an exclusive interview at the County Showground, Detling,
Andrew said how impressed he had been by what he had seen and
During a busy day, he spent time talking to apprentices at Swale
Skills Centre, Sittingbourne, the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in
Broadstairs, and the Kentchoices 4 U Live show at
He toured the show, joining more than 3,000 young people
and jobseekers of all ages on the second day.
Prince Andrew paid tribute to Kent County Council, which staged
the show jointly with the KM Group.
"What I've seen here has been really fascinating because you
don't come across many county councils who are really concerned
about creating opportunities for young people," he said. KCC was
encouraging the county's young to get jobs in Kent, he added.
"I've had a really positive message from Kent. I'm impressed by
what I've seen and there are some really good lessons that I will
take away and pass on."
He entered the university versus vocational debate,
saying the value of a university education had been "perhaps
over-emphasised" in the past. There was nothing to stop young
people from going to university later.
The prince had not gone to university, preferring to join
the Royal Navy and
training to be a pilot. "Would I have liked to go to
university later? Answer, probably yes, but in my peculiar
circumstances, I didn't have the time because I was asked to do too
many other things."
Prince Andrew met
apprentices at the Kentchoices 4 U Live show at the County
Apprenticeships were vital and the number was growing
significantly in the county. "The 20th century was about having a
skill or education, the 21st century is about applying the power of
the brain, the intellect and the education with the skill you learn
with your hands and training."
Statistics suggested apprentices earned considerably more
than graduates "because your skills, knowledge and loyalty are
Employability skills were as important as educational
But not all schools were teaching them well enough. "Some
schools are doing it really well. Others aren't."
Setting up a business was also a good option, and young people
should not be afraid of failure. "They're going to fail but it's
the recognition and understanding of failure which is going to
make them more resilient, give them experience early on so they can
pick themselves up and succeed. Failure is a good thing, not a bad
Social enterprises played a vital role, helping the unemployed
Mentors were crucial to helping businesses grow, inspiring the
young and encouraging them to aspire.
He added: "I'm now in my 50s and we didn't have the internet
when we were at school. We've got to give people the opportunity to
understand there are such a wide range of employment opportunities
that no single organisation has all the answers. I'm a great
believer in local solutions to local problems."
Video: Jools Holland was
among the visitors at Kentchoices 4 U Live
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