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Let’s teach kids about world of work from age of three – Education Minister

14 Aug 2023 4 minute read
Education Minister Jeremy Miles speaking at a meeting of Wrexham Business Professionals

Children should have the chance to learn about the world of work from the age of three onwards, according to Welsh Education Minister Jeremy Miles.

Speaking at a meeting of Wrexham Business Professionals (WBP), Mr Miles said there was an urgent need to strengthen links between local businesses, schools and colleges.

He also told the audience it was time to rethink the conveyor belt strategy where all children from an early age onwards are urged to set their sights on achieving a university place.

He said: “The focus is too much on moving pupils up to further education and securing university degrees.

“While there is a clear place for academia we are losing sight of vocational, and technical requirements, and the value of practical skills-based apprenticeships.”

New national curriculum

He said the Welsh Government was drawing up a new national curriculum for Wales with significant strides forward starting this year and being fully rolled out by 2026.

Far reaching changes will include new GCSE qualifications in subjects such as engineering and manufacturing.

“We need to broaden out the work related experience we give to young people in schools and colleges,” the minister added.

“Vocational qualifications must be more easily navigable and better reflect the needs of employers locally, nationally and globally.”

He said a key to making this successful was to forge consistently strong engagement between employers, schools and colleges and this should be across the board from early years through to college-level.

“Schools should have opportunities for children to learn about the world of work from the age of three.”

School visits

This could be achieved by regular school visits to factories and offices, business representatives consistently liaising with and giving talks and demonstrations in schools, more comprehensive work experience schemes, and better education of teachers about the real life skills needed in the today’s workplace.

Mr Miles also urged WBP members to think of ways in which they can engage with school pupils and students of all ages.

“I ask you to reflect on your own career journey, think about what influenced you and inspired you,” he said.

“How can you bring that into schools today? Think of opportunities for how you can proactively help pupils, for schools to link up with you and you to regularly visit them.

“We need to work together in partnership to give young people a sense of hope and entrepreneurship, fire their confidence and excite them with unlimited career challenges.”

Mr Miles was one of two guest speakers at the WBP breakfast meeting and his blueprint for transforming Welsh education was endorsed by Wrexham Senedd member, Lesley Griffiths.

Ms Griffiths, who is Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, invited schools to arrange for pupils to visit the Welsh Senedd in Cardiff so children can see government in action.

Decisions

“We are after all making important decisions which affect their future. I think it is important for school groups to come and see how those decisions are made.”

She said she felt proud to see that Wrexham was undergoing an important resurgence after being put on the global map thanks to Wrexham AFC’s takeover by Hollywood superstars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

She said: “There is an increasing sense that now is our time. Things are tough and people are feeling the pinch financially, but we must not forget that there is still great hope for the future. Wrexham and North Wales have a wealth of resources which we can tap into now and strategise for the long term.”

She pointed to the development of a £5.5m national football museum for Wales, the ongoing success of Tŷ Pawb cultural centre and community hub in Wrexham, improved regional transport links, the expansion of the renewables sector and offshore wind farm development in North Wales as being just a handful of the projects which are securing Wrexham’s potential to be seen as the capital of north Wales.

Calling for businesses to become even greener, she said: “With extremes of weather seen on all our TV screens this summer it is more than evident that we are facing a climate emergency. We need to get to net zero quicker than we thought as the science shows we are increasingly running out of time.”

Children and school leavers were as much aware of this as older generations and it was important to involve them in the conversation when discussing how the business world should develop in a greener future.

News about Wrexham Business Professionals can be found at : wrexhambusinessprofessionals.com or by emailing  [email protected] or ringing 01978 752500.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

What a boring ‘grown up’ ! Keep him away from children…

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Correct. World of work, my a*se as old Ricky used to say. By the time these kids are of working age the whole landscape of the workplace will have changed yet again unless he wants them all scrubbing floors and cleaning his house for him.

Maybe it’s politicians that need an indepth refresher about the world of work.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

The Education Minister proving that he knows naff all about education! All he seems to have outlined is vocational training, and that is clearly a matter for the post formal education period. Education to my mind is about assisting an individual to become a self regulating human being able to navigate their own way through life. Maybe the Education Minister should do a little light reading, i suggest Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Friere and Summerhill by A.S. Neill. Furthermore, the Minister could do a little light research and take a look at how… Read more »

riki
riki
9 months ago

education in wales is a year behind england. maybe focus on clsoing that gap!

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  riki

The two systems are not directly comparable, and in any case rely on the league table nonsense that so many lose their sense of rationality to.

Personally I would rather see Wales adapt and adopt a system of education similar to that of Finland, and though this would also require the rebuilding of a social security system worthy of people, it would in the medium to long term run rings around what passes for education in England.

Annibendod
Annibendod
9 months ago

Not bad ideas to be fair. A more pressing concern might be the dreadful Curriculum for Wales and the disastrous proposals for the next suite of GCSE’s. Couple that to the recruitment crisis in schools, failure to tackle poverty in our communities and I think we can see some priorities which might be higher up the list.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
9 months ago

….No! They should be in work by age two, I am sick of these so-called “children” laying about eating jam butties and playing while the rest of us worry about bills. They need to be at work. For twelve hours a day. By age three they should be learning about pensions. By agred five they should be burnt out jaded and without hope.
Kids have had it far too easy.

[Please note that this comment is an overdone and not quite as funny as it should be satire and not The Tory Party Manifesto]

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Jam !

Sugar butties will give 12 hours a day solid graft and give a dentist a job for life…

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
9 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Surely bread and dripping would be better. When I were a lad…

David Pearn
David Pearn
9 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Yes they’ll be sent up the chimneys before they can say Dick Van Dyke 😉.

David
David
9 months ago

Where do politicians get their training to join the gravy trail.

Karl
Karl
9 months ago

Let’s not. Rather they just learn and open their minds. You get an idea of jobs from family and friends anyway, outside of school. Let’s not turn education into a brainwashing of joining the rat race. Later in comp it’s the uni and jobs push.

Ann
Ann
9 months ago

We have been saying this in our house ever since a certain Tony Blair came up with the aim of 50% of 18 year olds getting a higher education.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
9 months ago

I suggest there should be more financial and economic education at school. I would like Jeremy Miles to consider this : If we want to see economic prosperity in Wales there must be a core economic and industrial base in Wales owned and controlled within Wales. If we wish this to be publicly owned then we need the financial and economic knowledge of how businesses, industries and the economy operates. If we are going to create an egalitarian Wales we will need redistribution of wealth, knowledge and power to the people and this also means responsibilities for decision making and… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago

Capitalism for the masses eh? Where have we heard this before?

Stephen George
Stephen George
9 months ago

I gather they’d be perfect for cleaning chimneys!

For chrisakes, let kids be kids. Plenty of time later in life to be a corporate drone. I used to think Jeremy was one of the sensible ones!

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen George

It’s election year next year, so Labour are trying desperately to out Tory the Tories, just to keep Kier happy. And heaven preserve us if Mr Miles is one of the sensible ones!

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
9 months ago

I would expect this sort of nonsense from the haunted pencil a.k.a. Jacob Rees-Mogg but not a Labour politician.

Others have pointed out that there’s plenty of time for this later on in education, after all this is what the FE sector is for.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

There also used to be Coleg Harlech until the Welsh Government decided to withdraw support for this unique Welsh educational institution. It was known as ‘the college of the second chance’ for those who had missed their chance in formal education. Academic standards were high, and certainly it was a much more challenging environment that FE colleges offering access courses.

The main criticism was that the cost of the education provided at Coleg Harlech was expensive: any education worthy of the name is expensive!

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
9 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

A very good friend of mine – sadly departed all too soon – was a hugely talented ‘bad-boy’ who couldn’t fit into the straitjacket of narrow expectation. Coleg Harlech was the saving of him. He eventually graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge, thereafter becoming an internationally-recognised professional archaeologist and historian who revolutionised the excavation and study of mediaeval sites. His name is Howard Thomas. One of the many success-stories which Coleg Harlech produced.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
9 months ago

For work experience they could go up chimneys and down pit.

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