In 1999, the Labour government set out a pledge that half of all young people should go on to higher education – an aim that has almost been achieved. But what about those young people who do not want to go down the academic itinerary? The BBC has met five who have become apprentices in some of Britain’s oldest trades.
Leighann Perry, leatherworker
“There are still fellowships moving skin products? “
This is the response 22 -year-old Leighann Perry encounters almost every time she says she works in the skin industry.
She developed an interest in the trade after working at Walsall’s leather museum.
“People are always scandalized to see me being so young working here in this industry. Everyone expects me to have an office job or something.”
Walsall is a town built on leather and its brand moves through it: Saddlers is the name for both the football squad and the shopping center.
Whitehouse Cox has been building leather goods, from purses to luggage, in the town since 1875.
It offered Leighann a three-year apprenticeship in leatherwork when she was 18.
Production manager Adrian Harris said the company was “not inconvenienced about -Alevels and A grades”.
“People necessary three concepts[ to work here ], ” he said. “Common sense, good sight, and getting better with their hands.”
Leighann, who contends with her mental health, said her schoolteachers “thought apprenticeships were a waste of time”.
“I was pushed to do college because I couldn’t get my English points. I wanted to go to university, but at the time it wasn’t right, ” she said.
“I’m happy doing what I’m doing though. College, sixth model and universities – they’re not the only way.”
Eddy da Silva, globe-maker
“There’s nothing quite like containing the world in your hands, ” says Eddy da Silva, an apprentice globe-maker at Bellerby and Co. in London.
The 24 -year-old, who was born in Venezuela but now lives in England’s capital, left a corporate home to seek the aircraft but said “only a handful of people corroborated my decision”.
“Having been in an office for two years, preparing globes is incomparable.”
Eddy was just going school in the Portuguese island of Madeira, where the success of any particular neighbourhood footballer was as inspiring as the encouragement he got from his teachers.
“During this time Cristiano Ronaldo became a superstar, and having a fellow islander make it to that sort of height yielded everyone a confidence increase,[ that] ‘impossible’ was truly two letters too long, ” he said.
Eddy said he had always been fascinated by globes but it was only after he followed Bellerby’s on Instagram, where an apprenticeship in map-making had been advertised, that he became his interest into a place.
“It has been quite surreal, ” he said. “I feel unbelievably privileged to be doing something like this.”
“You merely have to have the ambition to seek out unique capacities like this and be a bit of a risk-taker.”
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JoJo Wood, clog-maker
“Craft is seen as the stupid alternative. It’s what you do if you can’t do maths.”
JoJo Wood has been acquiring wooden spoonfuls and clogs since childhood, following in the footsteps of her parents in a swap as old-time as time.
“As a kid, whittling protrudes, played with knives and obliging happens is something I ever did, ” said the 23 -year-old, who grew up in Edale in Derbyshire.
“At 18, when I started get into[ woodwork ], people contemplated I was mad. But as they’ve got to university and their hope for the future has progressively drooped off, unexpectedly it doesn’t seem so bad.”