Many youngsters are simply not academic, that is not to say they are lacking in intelligence because learning styles are different across the population. Some folks are hands-on such as craftsmen, engineers, menders and makers, and are very often highly intelligent people who are ‘good with their hands’. Others, are leaders amongst men who want to be ‘out there doing things’ for which there are other routes available.

Old timers speak longingly about ‘the good old days of apprenticeships’, in truth some were not so good, however, those schemes mostly died out with the demise of heavy industries.

The good news is that Apprenticeships are back. For many youngsters this is a route into the workplace that can create real opportunities and training for life.

Modern Apprenticeships schemes are available right on our doorstep. Many industries now have Apprenticeship Training schemes in disciplines as diverse as security and manufacturing, and now we have news of Durham County Council setting up an excellent Apprentice Training Academy for young people aged between 16 years and 24 years enabling them to spend a year with the Authorities ICT teams. Information and Communications Technology is clearly profoundly important with every enterprise large or small, or micro, using some ICT in at least some of its activities. ICT is the lingua franca of the 21st Century.

Following their in-house experience with the County Council the young people will go into the ICT industry gaining hands on experience and working toward an NVQ in ICT, putting the knowledge gained into a universally recognised format and in so doing building a creditable CV.

The spread of the digital infra structure and our high flying digital economy makes a professional approach to Information and Communications Technology probably the most exciting jobs and careers marketplace for employment anywhere in the Country. With our surging business sector ICT is the cool place to be. Every industry from Banking to Design, and from Travel to Widget making, needs good ICT. This programme has the potential to unlock local home grown talent so that they can reach their true potential.

Many organisations now offer top notch Apprentice Training Programmes. The choice is amazing, including The Army, Boots, Lloyds Bank, plus there are Retailers/Supermarkets, Building Companies, Motor Manufacturers and Motor Repairers and more operating similar schemes. The list is almost endless and has something for just about any aspiring youngster – up to 24 years of age.

Things are not like they were in the ‘good old days’. No they are not! They are a darned sight better. Not being sent off to find a glass hammer, a chocolate knife, or make the tea, for starters. The Durham County Council Apprentice Training Programme, and others run by locally well know companies, are a solid stepping stone into the world of work that will enable a good many people to find a grand alternative to Uni and earn a good living sooner than later.

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