From education to employment

Why Edge are backing apprenticeships: #MeetDexter

Edge is a huge advocate of apprenticeships. We believe they can offer exciting learning and career opportunities for young people. When we came to recruit for a new Digital Marketing and Comms Executive post, we decided to put our money where our mouth is and appoint an apprentice. Dexter has been with us just a month, but is already an indispensable member of the team. So this week, I’m going to hand over to Dexter to share what Edge has been doing and how life as an apprentice is shaping up. Keep a look out for Dexter’s regular blog spots on the Edge website or keep up to date on Twitter #MeetDexter

My name is Dexter Hutchings, I am 17 years old and began my apprenticeship at Edge a month ago. Many times during my education I felt there was a lack of advice on careers and life after school. My sixth form was very clear that they wanted students to follow the path to university to get a degree. I highly value the work that the Edge Foundation does; I believe that the correct resources and guidance, can help young people to see that there are many other options which may suit them better.

Everyone at Edge has been very welcoming (they even took me for a Nando’s welcoming lunch). In my first week I attended several events including the launch of a new report by Baker Dearing Trust    held at the high tech Fujitsu offices in Baker Street. There were speeches from Lord Baker, Fujitsu managers and the authors of the research and a panel with University Technical College principals and students. It was an interesting event and gave me a great insight into how University Technical Colleges run. It was a simple way to learn lots of helpful background which would be really useful in my new role.

On the 1 March, my line manager, Jayne, Edge’s Director of Policy and Research, Olly, and I spent the day at the National Career Guidance Show at Olympia as Edge had a stand. We gave out leaflets and spoke to lots of the visitors who work in careers IAG.

We launched our new employer engagement interactive toolkit for schools and promoted our free Career Footsteps service. The Give Yourself the Edge interactive toolkit, developed with our partners at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), it’s an online step by step guide for schools to help them develop and deepen partnerships with local employers. The eye-catching graphics looked great on the large TV we’d hired.

Career Footsteps brings together volunteer professionals with experience of a technical or vocational education route and local schools. They share their experience and insight with students in the classroom.

There were over 1,000 visitors and I’m sure almost all of them stopped at the Edge stand! The response was positive and people were very engaged and keen to support our campaign for a more flexible Baccalaureate.

I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to people and not only explaining to people what we do at Edge, but finding out about them and why they were there.

The following week I found myself in Baroness StedmanScott’s office for a roundtable discussion on Edge’s proposed changes to the currentEBacc. Edge’s Head of Public Affairs and Chief Executive were there too and several Peers. The discussion had a very good flow and it was great to hear others’ views. I felt privileged to have been invited.

In the afternoon, I joined a demonstration outside Parliament to support the Bacc for the Future campaign. I had the pleasure of meeting the legendary choreographer  Arlene Phillips and the artist Patrick Brill (aka Bob and Roberta Smith) who are both supporters. Afterwards, a letter signed by Edge’s Chief Executive and over 100 other signatories representing the 200 organisations supporting the#BaccfortheFuturecampaign, was handed into 10 Downing Street. It was great to see the amount of support the campaign was getting, but also to see the links between the work Bacc for the Future and Edge are doing. I was lucky enough to take art and wood work as GCSEs and I believe everyone should be able to express their creative side.

More recently I spent the day at a school in Stratford in the heart of London’s East End. School21 is a pioneering school for girls and boys of all abilities and backgrounds. The school’s curriculum is based on the ethos of school work being meaningful, having a value independent of exams and making a difference to the world. They believe ‘today matters’; that children’s school work should have value in the here and now, and is not simply preparation for the future.

It was good to see teachers so committed to improving children’s lives and education. They are very passionate and believe that every child requires an individual approach which is reflected in the way they teach. They also place great value on real life work experience and making school work relevant to working life through projects. The school created the word ‘oracy’ because they believe speaking is just as important as reading and writing.

My first month has been very exciting and I have gained lots of knowledge and experience already. I’m looking forward to the months to come.

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