Young people are being told 'Why not do an apprenticeship?' without being shown how to do it, says Vince Cable

He also claims that Britain has an “appalling” record on vocational education, as he prepares to launch a new open online course.

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Vince Cable thinks young people are left with little guidance when it comes to apprenticeships.

"Britain has done appallingly badly at vocational education for many years," former business secretary Sir Vince Cable has claimed, in the same month that Theresa May's industrial strategy promises to regenerate technical training and tackle the skills shortage.

"It's a deeply cultural thing," said Cable, who held office during the Coalition government, quoted on the BBC News website.

"It got built into the British mindset... if you're clever, you go to university, and if you're not so clever you go off and do a trade of some sort," he said.

"It's still the case that if you're academically inclined and you don't know what to do, you go to university. The others are told, 'Why not do an apprenticeship?' without being given much of a steer as to how to do it.

"And that's completely wrong, for many people it would be better if they went down that route from day one."

Cable – who once taught Open University economics courses – is launching an online course on economics and politics, with the University of Nottingham, which will be available free on the Futurelearn online university network set up by the Open University.

"It's still the case that if you're academically inclined and you don't know what to do, you go to university. The others are told, 'Why not do an apprenticeship?' without being given much of a steer as to how to do it. And that's completely wrong, for many people it would be better if they went down that route from day one."

Earlier this, he gave a lecture to students from St Albans High School for Girls (STAHS), teachers and the public, discussing his career as a politician, the 2008 banking crisis, President Trump, and Brexit. Education is clearly very important to him.

Cable’s new teaching project is part of the so-called ‘Moocs’ – massive open online courses – which are characterised by being free, despite the fact that his period as business secretary saw him taking the controversial decision to raise university tuition fees in England to £9,000 per year.

"It was the right thing to do, but very, very politically painful," he told the BBC. “The alternative was to cut the further education budget. "I wasn't willing to go along with that."

His course, ‘The Politics of Economics and The Economics of Politicians’, will be available on Futurelearn from 20 March.

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