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bbc.co.ukIndustrial Cadets, an initiative to improve employability skills among young people, has been launched by the Prince of Wales. Under the scheme manufacturing employers will link with schools in their area to offer children, aged 12 to 14, the opportunity to learn about their business and pick up new skills.
Employers such as Tata Steel and the government have also backed the scheme, with the Department for Communities and Local Government pledging initial development funding.
As Industrial Cadets, the students are to take part in a minimum of 20 hours of extra curricular experience, including project work, company visits, hands on activity and presentations.
The initiative has been designed to develop creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, digital skills, careers motivation and personal development. Students’ achievements will be recognised in a graduation ceremony. Is this a chilling return to replacing innocence with experience or am I being over protective?
The framework delivery will vary in different locations, a national framework is in place to secure quality and consistency across the country.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “Industrial and engineering firms play a vital role in the UK economy, and they need qualified and motivated employees for the future.  It is crucial that young people have the chance to learn about the industrial heritage of their area, and the great career opportunities these firms can offer them.  I want Industry to have a real presence in schools and communities to get our young people excited about a career in Industry.  Industrial Cadets will do just that.”
The idea for Industrial Cadets began with a discussion between the Prince of Wales and Tata Steel in the North East when the Prince was visiting a Tata Steel facility in 2010. The concept was piloted by Tata Steel with twenty four 12-14 year olds.
Further background to this is the suggestion that 53% of employers believe that young people receive inadequate careers advice and almost two thirds (63%) said that the young people they had recruited lacked insight into the working world. This is according to research data collated by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) as part of its submission to the Education Select Committee report into careers guidance for young people, published today.
In a related article published by HR Magazine, Becci  Newton  senior research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) turns to an older workforce (well, young adults) and explains more about apprenticeships forming the central component of our Government’s strategies for social mobility and up-skilling the workforce. She argues (very credibly) that  by 2020 every employer will value apprenticeships as the key route to equipping them with the skills they need.
For more information about Industrial Cadets visit www.industrialcadets.org.uk  or read Mary Poppins or William Blake’s poems “The Chimney Sweeper.”
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